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Tomatoes and microgreens in space

We have lift-off

Originally scheduled for November 19, the Eu:CROPIS mission, featuring life support system greenhouses that are to demonstrate that growing tomatoes in space is possible using urine, was launched December 3 and is now in orbit.

In other space news, December 5 will see another satellite launch, this time from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. Space Tango customer payloads will be making their departure for the International Space Station for the SpaceX Commercial Resupply Services-16 (CRS-16) mission. Included in the mission are two horticulture projects.



Aeroponic Farming in Microgravity
The Aeroponic Farming in Microgravity payload will evaluate an aeroponic system designed for use in a microgravity environment. The primary payload objective is observing the behavior of mist immediately after it is ejected from its source and how it moves thereafter. The secondary objective is to observe how a sample plant grows using the aeroponic system.

In order to examine the feasibility of using small-scale aeroponics systems in microgravity, this experiment features a chamber with an ultrasonic fogger unit. The mist is sprayed onto material containing microgreen seeds and the resulting germination and growth are imaged. Research data collected should provide a helpful model for future plant growth studies on the ISS.

Growth of Assorted Microgreens in Microgravity
The Growth of Assorted Microgreens in Microgravity payload studies the morphology and physiology of the germination of four different microgreens within modular growth chambers in microgravity. The seeds are placed under automatic growth lighting conditions to provide day and night lighting cycles that simulate successful terrestrial lighting. While imaging and numerous environmental sensors provide an incremental evaluation of the plant growth on the International Space Station, multiple terrestrial control experiments will be conducted for comparison.  

The Growth of Assorted Microgreens in Microgravity experiment demonstrates modular, autonomous and retrievable crop research in space by contributing to the understanding of plant cultivation in service of food, oxygen and other habitat requirements on long-term space missions. This experiment also provides insight on plants grown under unusual conditions and can inform crop science, basic biology and horticultural applications on Earth.

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