NanoRacks-Maranatha Christian High School-Garden Cress Plant Growth and Phototropic Response Experiment (NanoRacks-MCHS-Phototropic Experiment) - 09.27.17

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

ISS Science for Everyone

Science Objectives for Everyone
On Earth, plants sense both gravity and light to determine the correct direction to grow their roots, stems and leaves, but in the microgravity environment of space, light is the only cue available. The NanoRacks-Maranatha Christian High School-Garden Cress Plant Growth and Phototropic Response Experiment (NanoRacks-MCHS-Phototropic Experiment) investigation studies microgravity’s effect on plants’ ability to sense light. Results are compared with plants grown upside-down on Earth, which illuminates light’s importance in plant germination.
Science Results for Everyone
Information Pending

The following content was provided by Bill Miller, M.S., and is maintained in a database by the ISS Program Science Office.
Experiment Details

OpNom:

Principal Investigator(s)
Maranatha Christian High School , San Diego, CA, United States

Co-Investigator(s)/Collaborator(s)
Bill Miller, M.S., Maranatha Christian Schools, San Diego, CA, United States
Miles Weida, Daylight Solutions, San Diego, CA, United States

Developer(s)
NanoRacks, LLC, Webster, TX, United States

Sponsoring Space Agency
National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)

Sponsoring Organization
National Laboratory Education (NLE)

Research Benefits
Earth Benefits, Space Exploration, Scientific Discovery

ISS Expedition Duration
March 2016 - September 2016

Expeditions Assigned
47/48

Previous Missions
Information Pending

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Experiment Description

Research Overview

  • NanoRacks-Maranatha Christian High School-Garden Cress Plant Growth and Phototropic Response Experiment (NanoRacks-MCHS-Phototropic Experiment) is needed in order to further research plant growth in space, specifically phototropism.
  • In this MicroLab, five LEDs turn on to help the plant (garden cress) germinate, and also guide the plant to grow. The plants are watered, and the plants have pictures taken every six hours.
  • If the experiment is successful, the data helps with future experiments. Figuring out how to better grow plants in microgravity conditions, could one day sustain life in orbit.

Description
On earth, gravity is an important factor in determining initial plant growth direction. In a microgravity environment, phototropism is the dominant factor in controlling plant growth direction. In this MicroLab, NanoRacks-Maranatha Christian High School-Garden Cress Plant Growth and Phototropic Response Experiment (NanoRacks-MCHS-Phototropic Experiment) germinates five garden cress seeds in the microgravity environment, and verifies that initial sprout growth direction can be controlled by placement of light. A miniature peristaltic pump is used to pump distilled water into the Oasis Rootcubes growing medium, which are holding the garden cress seeds. The same experiment is performed on earth to determine the effects of gravity (to see if plants can grow upside down towards light). If the experiment is successful, it will be determined that in microgravity, the seed sprout will initially grow towards the first light, then the direction will change towards the second light that is illuminated during the second half of the growth period.

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Applications

Space Applications
Plants will be a crucial source of food, medicine and oxygen for space travelers on future long-duration missions. This investigation studies the environmental cues plants use to grow properly in microgravity. The experiment germinates five garden cress seedlings in the presence of light bulbs, and after several days the light direction changes, allowing investigators to determine if the plants’ growth patterns change in response. Seedlings are also grown upside-down on Earth in the presence of light, determining whether gravity overrides the effect of light.

Earth Applications
Results from this investigation provide new understanding of the roles light and gravity play in helping plants to grow, benefiting agricultural research on Earth. Using light to control the direction of plant growth may enable vertical gardens that use less space, improving agricultural yield. In addition, the investigation was designed and planned by nine high school students, who worked with nine adult mentors and gained real-world experience and training in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) concepts.

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Operations

Operational Requirements and Protocols

NanoRacks Module-20 is completely autonomous and only requires installation and removal.
 
Crew interaction with Module-20 is limited to transferring the NanoRacks locker Insert from the launch vehicle to the ISS, installation and activation of the NanoRacks Frames into the EXPRESS Rack Locker, cleaning of the air inlet filter (as necessary), and data retrieval (as needed) during the mission.

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Decadal Survey Recommendations

Information Pending

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Results/More Information

Information Pending

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Related Websites
NanoRacks

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Imagery

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The NanoRacks-Maranatha Christian High School-Garden Cress Plant Growth and Phototropic Response Experiment (NanoRacks-MCHS- Phototropic Experiment) final product before putting on the end cap of the container. Image courtesy of Maranatha Christian High School.

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image The NanoRacks-Maranatha Christian High School-Garden Cress Plant Growth and Phototropic Response Experiment (NanoRacks-MCHS- Phototropic Experiment) layout of parts. The microgrid, the pump, and the 3D printed container are shown here. The design also includes a “plastic bladder” - a container to hold the water for the plant. Image courtesy of Maranatha Christian High School.
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The NanoRacks-Maranatha Christian High School-Garden Cress Plant Growth and Phototropic Response Experiment (NanoRacks-MCHS- Phototropic Experiment) team members (some) hold the phototropism MicroLab experiment on the final testing and building nights. Image courtesy of Maranatha Christian High School.

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The NanoRacks-Maranatha Christian High School-Garden Cress Plant Growth and Phototropic Response Experiment (NanoRacks-MCHS- Phototropic Experiment) final experiment picture (featuring signatures of team members and the sponsor). Image courtesy of Maranatha Christian High School.

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