Plants in space

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
A young sunflower plant aboard the ISS[1]
Vegetable Production System for ISS being discussed

Plants in space are plants grown in outer space. In the context of human spaceflight, they can be used for food and/or refreshing the atmosphere.[2] Plants can scrub carbon dioxide and return oxygen, as well as adjust humidity.[3] Plants can be grown in a space garden.[4] Aspects include how plants grow without gravity,[5] and different types of lighting. Growing plants in space may provide a psychological benefit to human spaceflight crews.[3]

The first organisms in space were "specially developed strains of seeds" launched to 134 km on July 9, 1946 on a U.S. launched V-2 rocket. These samples were not recovered. The first seeds launched into space and successfully recovered were maize seeds launched on July 30, 1946. Soon followed rye and cotton. These early suborbital biological experiments were handled by Harvard University and the Naval Research Laboratory and were concerned with radiation exposure on living tissue.[6]

The SVET-2 Space Greenhouse successfully achieved seed to seed plant growth in 1997 aboard space station Mir.[3] Bion 5 carried Daucus carota and Bion 7 carried maize. Biomass Production System was the precursor to the VEGGIE system (Vegetable Production System) aboard ISS.[7] Plants tested in VEGGIE before going into space included lettuce, Swiss chard, radishes, Chinese cabbage and peas.[8] A Skylab experiment studied the effects of gravity and light on rice plants.[9][10] In one experiment, a flower's roots' were seen to grow normally despite the lack of gravity.[11]


Examples of plants grown in space:


  • Bion satellites
  • VEGGIE, aboard ISS.[8]
  • SVET[3]
  • SVET-2, aboard Mir.[3]
  • TAGES, aboard ISS.[14]
  • Plant Growth/Plant Phototropism, aboard Skylab[9]
  • Oasis plant growth unit[15]
  • Plant Signaling (STS-135)[16]
  • Plant growth experiment (STS-95)[17]

See also[edit]


External links[edit]