Tomatosphere-III (Tomatosphere-III) - 09.17.14

Overview | Description | Applications | Operations | Results | Publications | Imagery
ISS Science for Everyone

Science Objectives for Everyone
The primary objectives of the project are to increase student interest in space science and horticultural technology and to increase student familiarity and experience with research methodologies. Tomatosphere-III will send 600,000 tomato seeds to the International Space Station (ISS) for exposure to the space environment. The seeds will be returned to Earth for use in over 13,000 classrooms throughout Canada as a learning resource. Students will measure the germination rates, growth patterns and vigor of growth of the seeds.

Science Results for Everyone

Martian tomatoes? Students across Canada and the U.S. measured the germination rates, growth patterns, and growth vigor of tomato seeds grown in space. This investigation eventually could help astronauts grow tomatoes and other crops on the Moon and Mars. Teachers say the eight-year long project has greatly increased interest in science and reinforced student knowledge of the scientific method. The project successfully integrates with science curriculum and generally promotes science education.



The following content was provided by Jason Clement, and is maintained in a database by the ISS Program Science Office.

Experiment Details

OpNom

Principal Investigator(s)

  • Jason Clement, Canadian Space Agency (CSA), Saint Hubert, Quebec, Canada

  • Co-Investigator(s)/Collaborator(s)
    Information Pending
    Developer(s)
    Heinz Seeds, Ontario, , Canada

    Ontario Centres of Excellence, Toronto, Ontario, Canada

    University of Guelph, Guelph, Ontario, Canada

    Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

    Heinz Canada, North York, Ontario, Canada

    Stokes Seeds, Buffalo, NY, United States

    Sponsoring Space Agency
    Canadian Space Agency (CSA)

    Sponsoring Organization
    Information Pending

    Research Benefits
    Information Pending

    ISS Expedition Duration
    March 2009 - September 2013

    Expeditions Assigned
    19/20,27/28,29/30,31/32,33/34,35/36

    Previous ISS Missions
    Tomatosphere-II was performed during Expedition 9 as a part of the EPO investigation onboard the ISS.

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    Experiment Description

    Research Overview

    • Tomatosphere-III will involve students in grades 3 - 10 across Canada in hands-on activities to examine differences in plant growth of tomato seeds.


    • Seeds will be sent to the International Space Station (ISS) for exposure to the microgravity environment then returned to Earth. The students will plant the returned seeds exposed to the space environment as well as a control group and will make observations, record data and investigate the effect of space flight on seed germination rate, seedling vigor and other growth parameters.


    • The objectives of Tomatosphere-III are to increase student interest and awareness related to space science, increase student experience with research methodologies and inspire them to pursue their studies and careers in science-related fields.

    Description
    Tomatosphere-III is an educational investigation involving more than 13,000 classrooms in Canada which uses the excitement of space exploration as a medium for teaching students about science, space, agriculture and the role being played by Canada in the support of long-term space flight. The Tomatosphere program began in 2001 and has expanded each year. In the spring of each year, classrooms conduct experiments to investigate the effects of the space environment on the growth of tomato seeds in support of long-duration human exploration, establishing a base on the Moon, and then to Mars.

    The students' findings will begin to address the question of how we supply long-duration space exploration missions with the life support requirements of food, water, oxygen and the need to consume carbon dioxide exhaled by the crewmembers. Currently, space vehicles are able to carry just enough of these requirements to service the crew for short missions; supplies for long-duration crews on the International Space Station (ISS) are currently refreshed by visiting space vehicles.

    Students will compare the rates of germination of the control group and the seeds exposed to the microgravity environment onboard the ISS and will report on the growth and development of the plants. Students will learn how to conduct a scientific experiment and may be inspired to pursue further education in the areas of science and technology. It is essential that we focus on the technical needs of ventures like the space program in order to motivate young people to pursue studies in science and technology. Not all students can become astronauts; however, many will be able to find significant, worthwhile roles in providing support for knowledge-based programs like those being developed by the Canadian Space Agency and others.

    Tomatosphere-III educational units include:

    • How to Feed a Martian (Grades 3 - 4): nutrition focus for astronauts' trips to the Red Planet

    • Surviving on the Red Planet (Grade 6): Recycling breathable air

    • The Martian environment (Grades 7 - 8): Weather station on Mars

    • The Energy to Survive (Grades 9 - 10): Nutritional requirements for long-duration missions

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    Applications

    Space Applications
    The goal of Tomatosphere-III is to evaluate the growth of space-exposed seeds compared to earth-grown seeds.

    Earth Applications
    This payload allows students to contribute to science at their level, thereby providing them with exposure to the scientific method and research methodologies, and serving to inspire them to pursue their studies and careers in science related fields in order to contribute as the next space generation.

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    Operations

    Operational Requirements
    For Tomatosphere-III 600,000 vacuum packed tomato seeds will be sent to the ISS on the Space Shuttle.

    Operational Protocols
    The vacuum packed tomato seeds will be sent to the ISS via a Space Shuttle and remain onboard the ISS for a set duration. The seeds will then be returned to Earth for distribution to classrooms across Canada.

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    Results/More Information
    Information Pending

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    Results Publications

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    Ground Based Results Publications

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    ISS Patents

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    Related Publications

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    Related Websites
    Tomatosphere

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    Imagery

    image During a previous Tomatosphere program, students studied the growth of their tomato plants in Miss Smith’s grade three class at Langley Fundamental Elementary, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. The students took their plants home to grown in their gardens over the summer. Image credit: Tomatosphere.
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    image During a previous Tomatosphere program, students studied the growth of their tomato plants in Miss Smith’s grade three class at Langley Fundamental Elementary, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. The students took their plants home to grown in their gardens over the summer. Image credit: Tomatosphere.
    + View Larger Image


    image
    + View Larger Image