Anna-Lisa Paul

UF/IFAS Plants Grown in Space Flown Home

Researchers from the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences were glad to see their plants returned to Earth last month following an experiment aboard the International Space Station. The plants were launched as seeds aboard the International Space Station in May as part of a multi-phase experiment being conducted by the UF/IFAS Space Plants Lab. Astronauts aboard the ISS grew the plants in July, harvested them in the Fall, sent them back to Earth in December, and the researchers had them by January. This experiment focused on genetic strategies to make plants hardier and better able to adapt to the spaceflight environment. Over time, as more plants are given the opportunity to grow during spaceflight, researchers hope to "train" the plants to adapt to this environment.

University of Florida To Launch Space Mission Institute With $2.5 Million in Strategic Funding

Faculty at the University of Florida are joining forces to form the UF Space Mission Institute, with $2.5 million in funding from UF President Ben Sasse. The Institute will be managed by UF Research and will be a hub in which scientists and scholars from across UF can collaborate, conduct research, and innovate. The institute will work to enhance existing relationships with Space Florida and the Space Life Sciences Laboratory at the Kennedy Space Center, and seek new partnerships with the International Space Station National Laboratory. The institute will also work to leverage UF’s proximity to the growing commercial space ecosystem in Florida. Throughout the next five years, the total economic impact of the commercial space industry in Florida is expected to be more than $5.3 billion.

UF Plant Experiment Flies on Virgin Galactic Spaceship

UF project, funded by NASA’s Flight Opportunities Program, was the only science experiment on the Virgin Galactic mission, meant to study the impact the transition to and from zero gravity has on gene expression in cells, and, more broadly, to develop protocols for “human-tended” suborbital flights.

UF Researchers Aim to One Day Farm on Mars

UF researchers are playing a part in the future of space agriculture. One of the co-directors of the UF Space Plants Lab said all the research they do has one main goal, to one day grow plants on Mars.