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NASA selects 7 new space plant studies

NASA has announced grants or cooperative agreements for seven exciting new space biology investigations to advance our understanding of how plants respond, acclimate and adapt to the space environment in support of human space exploration.

As we prepare to explore beyond Low Earth Orbit (LEO), NASA’s Biological and Physical Sciences Division (BPS) is shifting its research priorities towards work that will enable organisms to Thrive In DEep Space (TIDES). The focus is on determining the effects of multiple deep-space stressors, including deep space radiation and reduced gravity, on plants: species that serve as model organisms or produce food crops for astronauts.

The nutritional benefits of growing plants in LEO and/or in deep space also make plant research valuable to the Human Research Program, who will provide access to the NASA Space Radiation Laboratory at Brookhaven National Laboratory for some of the awarded studies.

Seven investigators from seven institutions in six states will conduct these space biology investigations. Five awards are to investigators new to the Space Biology Program within BPS. Most of the seven investigations are ground-based, with one destined to fly to the International Space Station (ISS).

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