Can plants grow in space?

Down to Earth - - THE FORTNIGHT - P L A N T S H AV E

a great af­fil­i­a­tion to grav­ity. It de­fines their growth and ways of sur­vival. But can they sur­vive with­out grav­ity? Re­searchers with the Ja­pan Aerospace Ex­plo­ration Agency will re­peat their ear­lier Plant Grav­ity Sens­ing study at the In­ter­na­tional Space Sta­tion to un­der­stand how plants sense their growth di­rec­tion with­out grav­ity. They are study­ing thale cress which is well un­der­stood by sci­en­tists. The study will help in­crease farm pro­duc­tiv­ity. It may also help gain in­sight into grow­ing plants in space and un­der­stand mech­a­nisms of dis­eases af­fected by grav­ity, such as os­teo­poro­sis and mus­cle loss.

S. COR­VAJA / EURO­PEAN SPACE AGENCY

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