Seeds in Space (Seeds) - 07.14.16
Information Pending Science Results for Everyone
Seeds in Space aims to make science fun while demonstrating the influence of gravity on germination and growth of plants. Kits were distributed one month before launch to schools in the Netherlands, Germany, Russia, and the Dutch Antilles. Students compared growth of seeds on Earth with those grown onboard the space station, which they observed through a live video downlink from orbit. In space, plants in the dark grew in all directions, while those in the light all grew toward the light. Participants concluded that light or gravity help plants know in which direction to grow, and the absence of both appear to confuse the plants. Experiment Details
Jack J.W.A van Loon, ACTA-Free University, Amsterdam, Netherlands
Koen A. P. Weterings, Radboud University, Nijmegen, Netherlands
ACTA University, Amsterdam, Netherlands
Sponsoring Space Agency
European Space Agency (ESA)
ISS Expedition Duration
October 2003 - October 2004
The main goal of this student experiment is to involve as many students as possible in and effort to show that science is fun through a plant growth experiment called Seeds in Space. The educational / scientific objectives of the experiment are: To demonstrate the influence of gravity on the germination and growth of plants to young people (10 to 15 year olds) and others. By engaging in the comparable on-ground experiment, students will experience that science is fun and that the weightless environment of space opens new possibilities. The experiment kit will be distributed one month before launch to schools or other distribution channels.
Operational Requirements and Protocols
The main purpose of this education/ demonstration experiment is to clearly show that plants respond to gravity by a directed growth (experiments on ground) and that they will show a non-preferential or disoriented growth direction when grown in the dark in weightlessness. The in-flight part of the experiment will consist of folding rockets with simple plant growth chambers in which Rucola seeds germinate either with or without light. Crew will setup the growth chamber, initiating seed germination by watering the seeds on the supporting filter paper using a standard 30-ml needleless syringe with luer lock stopcock. Crew will monitor the growth once a day. Since there is no in-flight experience with the proposed plants (species Rucola, rocket lettuce), we require three sets of cultures to be initiated on three consecutive days in flight. The duration for one plant culture is expected to be 3-4 days. Depending on the date and time for the live in flight call we need to initiate the seed germination 3, 4 and 5 days before. The best of the 3 sets will be used for the live video-audio connection.
Decadal Survey Recommendations
Information Pending^ back to top
Tepfer D, Zalar A, Leach S. Survival of Plant Seeds, Their UV Screens, and nptII DNA for 18 Months Outside the International Space Station. Astrobiology. 2012; 12(5): 517-528. DOI: 10.1089/ast.2011.0744. PMID: 22680697.
van Loon JJ, Wamsteker JA, Weterings KA. Seeds-in-Space education experiment during the Dutch Soyuz mission, DELTA. Journal of Gravitational Physiology. 2005; 12(1): 213-2124.
Kimoto Y, Yamagata I, Ishizawa J, Miyazaki E, Baba N, Kato M. Japanese Space Materials Exposure Experiment Utilizing International Space Station. 57th International Astronautical Congress, Valencia, Spain; 2006
Weterings KA, Wamsteker JA, van Loon JJ. Seeds-in-space education experiment during the Dutch soyuz mission DELTA. Microgravity Science and Technology. 2007 September; 19(5-6): 244-248. DOI: 10.1007/BF02919491.
Colla G, Battistelli A, Proietti S, Moscatello S, Rouphael Y, Cardarelli M, Casucci M. Rocket seedling production on the International Space Station: Growth and Nutritional properties. Microgravity Science and Technology. 2007; XIX(5/6): 118-121. DOI: 10.1007/BF02919465.
Ground Based Results Publications
ESA Erasmus Experiment Archive
Seeds folding rocket
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