(ORDO NEWS) — Federica Brandizzi, a professor at Michigan State University (MSU), will send seeds into space on the Artemis I mission to better understand how to grow food during long space travel.
“It’s about understanding how we can create and sustain life beyond this planet,” Brandizzi said. “We need plants that can survive long-duration space flights.”
But plants grow differently in space than they do on Earth. Over the past few decades, scientists have been working to compensate for these changes.
From previous experiments, scientists have learned that spaceflight affects the building blocks of organisms, such as amino acids, which make sprouts strong. The same amino acids are essential for humans.
Brandizzi’s lab selected seeds enriched with amino acids to send into space along with regular seeds. This experiment will allow the MSU team to see if seed enrichment on Earth will lead to healthy edible plants in space.
“In space, there are so many variables, so many things that plants have never experienced before,” said Prof. Brandizzi. “For example, without Earth’s protective atmosphere, plants would experience higher doses of cosmic radiation.”
The team’s experiment was selected by NASA’s space biology program. In addition to the MSU experiment, the Orion spacecraft will host a yeast experiment led by the University of Colorado-Boulder, a fungus experiment led by the Naval Research Laboratory, and a photosynthetic algae experiment led by the Institute for Medical Research.
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