Header Bar Graphic
Astronaut ImageArchives HeaderBoy Image
Spacer

TabHomepage ButtonWhat is NASA Quest ButtonSpacerCalendar of Events ButtonWhat is an Event ButtonHow do I Participate Button
SpacerBios and Journals ButtonSpacerPics, Flicks and Facts ButtonArchived Events ButtonQ and A ButtonNews Button
SpacerEducators and Parents ButtonSpacer
Highlight Graphic
Sitemap ButtonSearch ButtonContact Button

 
Shuttle/Mir Banner

Great Plant Debate

Design that "flew" on STS-51

by Gerard Heyenga

Description under photo

Plant growth chamber containing wheat plants

 

photo of gel pack described below
photo of plants in chamber as described below
This is a Nutrient Pack filled with a gel with special nutrients and surrounded by a special membrane that protects the roots but allows for good gas exchange. Because the Nutrient Packs are little (2 inches cubed) a number of them can be placed side-by-side in a typical chamber as the one pictured here that carried four packs planted with seed into space. Here you see the plants after 10 days of growth in microgravity.

photo of roots seen through gel pack photo of roots seen through gel pack

An advantage to the transparent gel is that it allows scientists to watch the root structure.
Can you tell which of the above was grown on STS-51 and which on the ground?

The answer


 
Spacer        

Footer Bar Graphic
SpacerSpace IconAerospace IconAstrobiology IconWomen of NASA IconSpacer
Footer Info