NanoRacks-San Diego Youth Space Program-Investigating Garden Cress Phototropic Response in a Microgravity Environment (NanoRacks-SDYSP-Phototropism) - 11.21.17

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

ISS Science for Everyone

Science Objectives for Everyone
NanoRacks-San Diego Youth Space Program-Investigating Garden Cress Phototropic Response in a Microgravity Environment (NanoRacks-SDYSP-Phototropism) investigates how a common edible plant responds to different light regimes in the microgravity environment of space. The experiment uses an automated light-emitting diode (LED) setup and monitoring system to germinate and grow garden cress under different lighting conditions aboard the International Space Station. Back on Earth, students examine images taken at different stages of plant growth as well as returned samples in order to determine how light affects growth in the absence of gravity.
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)
San Diego Youth Space Program , Maranatha Christian Schools, San Diego, CA, United States

Co-Investigator(s)/Collaborator(s)
Bill Miller, M.S., Maranatha Christian Schools, 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
Information Pending

ISS Expedition Duration
April 2017 - September 2017

Expeditions Assigned
51/52

Previous Missions
Information Pending

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Experiment Description

Research Overview

  • NanoRacks-San Diego Youth Space Program-Investigating Garden Cress Phototropic Response in a Microgravity Environment (NanoRacks-SDYSP-Phototropism) is needed in order to further the research of plant growth in space, specifically phototropism.
  • In this MicroLab, light-emitting diodes (LEDs) are used to germinate and grow the garden cress seeds. The plants are watered and growth is monitored through pictures taken on regular intervals. The plants are immersed in an agar solution to allow for visibility of the root structures. The same module is run on Earth.
  • Understanding plant growth behavior in microgravity is important to sustaining human life in space. Specifically, understanding phototropic response and root structure can further the ability to optimize plant growth in space.

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. NanoRacks-San Diego Youth Space Program-Investigating Garden Cress Phototropic Response in a Microgravity Environment (NanoRacks-SDYSP-Phototropism) hopes to germinate five garden cress seeds in microgravity environment and verify that the sprout growth direction is controlled by placement of light. A miniature peristaltic pump is used to pump distilled water into the agar holding the garden cress seeds. The same experiment on Earth is performed on Earth to determine the effects of gravity. If the experiment is successful, the sprout growth in microgravity changes direction based on the placement of the light, exhibiting a faster reaction than the sprouts on Earth.

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Applications

Space Applications
NanoRacks-SDYSP-Phototropism expands understanding of how to grow plants in space. Plants can serve as potential sources of calories, oxygen and other nutrients during long-term space travel but their growth strongly depends on light and gravity. The research contributes to overall understanding of optimal light regimes for large scale and long-term cultivation in space.

Earth Applications
This research advances STEM education goals by including 21 high school students from eight different high schools. In addition to training students in scientific experimental design, NanoRacks-SDYSP-Phototropism offers experience with mechanical, electrical, and software engineering. Space experiments inspire students to take an interest in science, engineering and space policy.

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Operations

Operational Requirements and Protocols
NanoRacks Black Box is completely autonomous and only requires installation and removal. Crew interaction with Black Box is limited to transferring the NanoRacks Black Box from the launch vehicle to the ISS, installation and activation 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 circuit board during integration phase of NanoRacks-San Diego Youth Space Program-Investigating Garden Cress Phototropic Response in a Microgravity Environment (NanoRacks-SDYSP-Phototropism). Image courtesy of Joseph Kim.

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The NanoRacks-San Diego Youth Space Program-Investigating Garden Cress Phototropic Response in a Microgravity Environment (NanoRacks-SDYSP-Phototropism) 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 San Diego Youth Space Program.

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The NanoRacks-San Diego Youth Space Program-Investigating Garden Cress Phototropic Response in a Microgravity Environment (NanoRacks-SDYSP-Phototropism) team members run tests on the module. Left to right: Janelle Hicks, Alex Partida, Justin Stout, Joshua Price, Joaquin Fuenzalida Nuñez. Image courtesy of Jeremy Yu.

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The NanoRacks-San Diego Youth Space Program-Investigating Garden Cress Phototropic Response in a Microgravity Environment (NanoRacks-SDYSP-Phototropism) team. SDYSP Team with Mentors. Image courtesy of San Diego Youth Space Program.

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