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Plants able to grow without gravity

Posted on Tuesday, 11 December, 2012 | Comment icon 9 comments

Image credit: NASA

Scientists have determined that it is possible to grow plants in space despite the lack of gravity.

Experiments on the International Space Station have demonstrated that plants can thrive in space and grow in much the same way as they do on Earth. The discovery is important because it means that astronauts in the future will be able to grow their food during long space voyages such as on a trip to Mars.

"The features of plant growth we thought were a result of gravity acting on plant cells and organs do not actually require gravity," said study co-author Anna-Lisa Paul. "There's really no impediment to growing plants in microgravity, such as on a long-term mission to Mars, or in reduced-gravity environments such as in specialized greenhouses on Mars or the moon."

"Since the flowers were orbiting some 220 miles (350 kilometers) above the Earth at the time, the NASA-funded experiment suggests that plants still retain an earthy instinct when they don't have gravity as a guide."

  View: Full article |  Source: National Geographic

  Discuss: View comments (9)


Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #1 Posted by Taun on 11 December, 2012, 13:24
I never thought that they might not... Just thought that they would be a bit more "bushy"... as in growing in weird directions...
Comment icon #2 Posted by Sundew on 11 December, 2012, 16:39
Plants normally respond to light by growing leaves and branches toward it (phototropism) and to gravity by growing roots downward. Plant such as carrots planted in soil in low gravity might not be able to grow a taproot in the proper direction (it might grow sideways in a container), but those with fibrous roots will probably just fill the available soil with roots. As long as there is a light source they will grow toward it. In tissue culture plant cells are kept from differentiating by constantly gentle agitation of the media, this keeps them from orienting towards gravity and allows cell ... [More]
Comment icon #3 Posted by King Fluffs on 11 December, 2012, 16:41
I remember my biology teacher telling me about something like this awhile back.
Comment icon #4 Posted by brainiac on 11 December, 2012, 20:42
So this is what I am thinking about, that maybe some of the UFO's flying out there is some kind of living parasite.
Comment icon #5 Posted by The New Richard Nixon on 12 December, 2012, 10:49
A parasite is not a plant, a parasite needs a host to survive.
Comment icon #6 Posted by brainiac on 12 December, 2012, 17:38
Nope both plant and parasite are living things. Some plant are parasite check the orchids. Parasite depend on others to survive, the UFOs why they visit us. I believe some UFOs are not piloted like drones or somekind of camouflaging living organisms.
Comment icon #7 Posted by MidKn13ght on 12 December, 2012, 23:17
I never would of thought this would of actually been an issue.... Carbonminoxide, Water, and light is all plants need well i though i could be What does gravity have to do with their growth? Now you dont need tie strings, or sticks to hold up the plant..... wonder how much funds where put into finding out this crucial information......
Comment icon #8 Posted by Waspie_Dwarf on 12 December, 2012, 23:31
Quite a lot actually. With out gravity how does the seed know in which direction the roots should grow, or the shoots? If a plant were to try and open it's leaves whilst still underground, whilst it's roots were above ground it wouldn't survive very long.
Comment icon #9 Posted by MidKn13ght on 14 December, 2012, 16:41
Tu'Shae my man ...Tu'Shae.....

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