Tech UPTechnologySpace gardening with cucumbers

Space gardening with cucumbers

pepino-issTheplantsare fundamental for life on Earth, convertinglight and carbon dioxide in food and oxygen. That is why exploring the possibilities of farming in space has been part of the scientific studies aboard the International Space Station (ISS) since its launch into orbit. The latest experiment that the astronauts have launched is a study promoted by the Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) that observes the directional growth of roots, and which has been baptized asHydro Tropi.

In microgravity the roots grow laterally, to the sides, instead of up or down as when they are under the gravitational force of the Earth. Using cucumber plants (Cucumis sativus), the researchers seek to determine whetherhydrotropic response, that is, the orientation of the roots of the plants due to the water, couldcontrol the direction of root growth in microgravity. The seeds, introduced in hydrotropism chambers, were subjected to 18 hours of incubation in a facility called “Experiment Cell in Biology”. The crew members then activated the seeds with water or a saturated salt solution, followed by a second application of water for 4 to 5 hours. The crew harvested the cucumber seedlings and preserved them by fixing them in fixing tubes, which have been stored in freezers while waiting to return to Earth, as reported by NASA.

The results of the experiment will help researchersbetter understand how plants grow and develop at the molecular level.

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