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.Principal Investigator(s)
Stokes Seeds, Buffalo, NY, United States
University of Guelph, Guelph, Ontario, Canada
Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
Heinz Canada, North York, Ontario, Canada
Heinz Seeds, Ontario, , Canada
Ontario Centres of Excellence, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Canadian Space Agency (CSA)Sponsoring Organization
Information PendingISS Expedition Duration:
March 2009 - October 2013
19/20,27/28,29/30,31/32,33/34,35/36Previous ISS Missions
Tomatosphere-II was performed during Expedition 9 as a part of the EPO investigation onboard the ISS.
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:
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.
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.