Tomatosphere-IV (Tomatosphere-IV) - 09.05.18

Overview | Description | Applications | Operations | Results | Publications | Imagery

ISS Science for Everyone

Science Objectives for Everyone
Tomatosphere-IV consists of a shipment of 600,000 tomato seeds that are exposed to the conditions of space in SpaceX’s Dragon vehicle (SpX-6). Following their return to Earth, the participating classrooms are provided with two sets of tomato seeds: one set that has been exposed to space or space-simulated environments, as well as a control group for comparison. Without knowing which set is which, students grow the seedlings in their classrooms, measuring a variety of information about the tomato plants, the germination rates, growth patterns, and vigor of the seeds. This methodology, known as a "blind study," allows the mystery of the project to be real science for the students. Each class submits their results to the project’s website to be shared with scientists studying horticulture and environmental biology.
Science Results for Everyone
Information Pending

The following content was provided by Ruth Ann Chicoine, and is maintained in a database by the ISS Program Science Office.
Experiment Details


Principal Investigator(s)
Michael A. Dixon, Ph.D., University of Guelph, Guelph, Ontario, Canada

Ruth Ann Chicoine, Canada

Canadian Space Agency (CSA), Saint-Hubert, Quebec, Canada

Sponsoring Space Agency
Canadian Space Agency (CSA)

Sponsoring Organization
Information Pending

Research Benefits
Earth Benefits, Scientific Discovery, Space Exploration

ISS Expedition Duration
September 2014 - September 2015

Expeditions Assigned

Previous Missions
EPO-Tomatosphere II, STS-127 (2J/A), and Tomatosphere-III (STS-135/ULF7 to Inc 33)

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Experiment Description

Research Overview

  • The primary objective of the Tomatosphere educational project is to increase student interest and learning in space science and horticultural technology, while providing students with hands-on experience with research methodologies.
  • Following exposure of the tomato seeds to the weightless environment of space, they sent to approximately 18,000 classrooms in Canada and the US.
  • Students in grades 3-10 will plant the seeds, and record their observations on the effects of spaceflight on seed germination rates, seedling vigor, and other growth parameters.

Information Pending

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Space Applications
Tomatosphere-IV benefits the space program by investigating which type of seeds and plants would be most suitable for long-duration spaceflights, and how seeds and plant growth might be affected by the space environment—particularly important for future long-duration missions where crews will most likely be required to grown their food in space.

Earth Applications
Tomatosphere-IV benefits youth by teaching space science through a hands-on educational experiment.

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Operational Requirements and Protocols
Information Pending

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Decadal Survey Recommendations

Information Pending

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Results/More Information

Information Pending

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Related Websites

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View of NASA astronaut Scott Kelly with the Tomatosphere-IV investigation. Image credit: NASA.

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