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Why Study Plants in Space?

Why Study Plants in Space?

Why is NASA conducting plant research aboard the International Space Station ? Because during future long-duration missions, life in space may depend on it.

The ability of plants to provide a source of food and recycle carbon dioxide into breathable oxygen may prove critical for astronauts who will live in space for months at a time. In addition, plants provide a sense of well-being. At the McMurdo Station for research in Antarctica -- a site that in the dead of winter resembles the space station in its isolation, cramped quarters, and hostile environment -- the most sought after section of the habitat is the greenhouse.

NASA and the European Space Agency, or ESA, are studying how plants adapt to micro- and low-gravity environments in a series of experiments designed to determine the ability of vegetation to provide a complete, sustainable, dependable and economical means for human life support in space. As researchers continue to gain new knowledge of how plants grow and develop at a molecular level, this insight also may lead to significant advances in agriculture production on Earth.

More on:http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/research/news/plants_in_space.html


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