Robert Ferl

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.

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.