Life Cycle of Arabidopsis thaliana in Microgravity (Arabidopsis thaliana) - 01.16.19

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

ISS Science for Everyone

Science Objectives for Everyone
The Life Cycle of Arabidopsis thaliana in Microgravity (Arabidopsis thaliana) project studies the morphology and physiology of a common plant species using specialized modular growth chambers aboard the International Space Station (ISS). The plant under investigation grows from germinated seeds under automated light, temperature and nutrient conditions. Automated cameras image growth at every stage to determine both plant viability and the effectiveness of cultivation modules, which return to Earth for further post-mission analysis.
Science Results for Everyone
Information Pending

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


Principal Investigator(s)
Ted Tagami,, Berkeley, CA, United States

Tony So,, Berkeley, CA, United States

Space Tango, Inc., Lexington, KY, United States

Sponsoring Space Agency
National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)

Sponsoring Organization
National Laboratory (NL)

Research Benefits
Scientific Discovery

ISS Expedition Duration
September 2017 - March 2019

Expeditions Assigned

Previous Missions
Information Pending

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Experiment Description

Research Overview

  • The Life Cycle of Arabidopsis thaliana in Microgravity (Arabidopsis thaliana) project is a plant biology investigation with Arabidopsis thaliana, a mustard plant used in many science investigations with a genome that is fully mapped.
  • The plant morphology and physiology is evaluated throughout the duration in orbit. Students on Earth use data from the experiment alongside their terrestrial experiment kit (ExoLab) in their classrooms. The microgravity environment is required for the duration of the germination and plant growth to assess the response of the plants under these conditions.


The Life Cycle of Arabidopsis thaliana in Microgravity (Arabidopsis thaliana) experiment studies how different growth phases of the plant are affected by the microgravity environment. Seeds are placed in an agar gel medium and kept in a cold environment to prevent early germination until installation into the module. Custom growth lighting provides day and night lighting cycles that simulate successful terrestrial lighting. Imaging and numerous environmental sensors provide incremental evaluations of the plant growth until the plant reaches maturity.

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Space Applications
The investigation benefits space programs by demonstrating modular, autonomous and retrievable crop research in space. The experiment contributes to understanding of plant physiology in microgravity and informs strategies for plant cultivation in service of food, oxygen and other habitat requirements on long term space missions.

Earth Applications
The investigation benefits Earth applications by providing fundamental botanical information regarding a common plant. Understanding plant growth under unusual conditions can inform crop science, basic biology and horticultural applications on Earth.

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Operational Requirements and Protocols
This experiment is contained inside of a Plant Growth Life Science CubeLab for cold stow ascent. The experiment operates in the TangoLab facility, and returns in ambient conditions. The crew installs the CubeLab to Payload Card-4 and Payload Card-6, and then into the TangoLab, where autonomous operations occur. At the end of operations, the crew removes and stows the hardware for return to Earth. The Payload Card returns on the next returning vehicle, and turned over to the Space Tango/PI team upon return.

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Decadal Survey Recommendations

Information Pending

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Results/More Information

Information Pending

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Related Websites
Space Tango

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