A new series of UF Space Plants are soon on their way to the ISS, extending our science experiments on the ways that biology adapts to being in space. Our plants are part of the APEX-03 payload that will launch aboard the SpaceX-5 mission, set to launch at 2:31pm on December 16.
These experiments explore the deep reaches of plant root architectures that change during spaceflight. Results will provide new insight into how plants respond to extraterrestrial environments, which enables our understanding of how to better explore space and improves the research for growing food and producing oxygen on future space missions.
There will be eight individual seed lines flying, each one with a unique job in helping us determine plant responses to spaceflight. The plants will be grown on sterile petri plates, and harvested at 4, 8 and 11 days for later analysis once the samples return to Earth. We have a wonderful opportunity to image the plants while they are on the space station through the use of the LMM or Light Microscopy Module. This allows us to gather real-time data on the gene response to spaceflight environment.
Watch live on NASA TV at http://www.nasa.gov/multimedia/nasatv/index.html#.VIXDOzHF8mR .