New Edible Plant Research Finding a Place in Outer Space

New Edible Plant Research Finding a Place in Outer Space

High school students conduct research for NASA at Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden

As part of the Growing Beyond Earth classroom science program, high school students conduct plant research for NASA at Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden in Coral Gables, FL.
Photo by Maureen Tan

Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden near Miami has long been known as a world class center for plant diversity through research, education, community outreach, and conservation. But, did you know its impact now reaches beyond the stars? It’s true.

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Successfully launching late last week from Cape Canaveral, FL, the SpaceX CRS-15 carried with it to the International Space Station several science experiments, including seeds for testing in NASA’s veggie growth chamber. Two of the plant varieties, ‘Dragoon’ lettuce and ‘Extra Dwarf’ pak choi, were chosen by middle and high school students participating in Fairchild’s Growing Beyond Earth classroom science program. Results from experiments conducted by the students led to the decision of what varieties were sent skyward.

Growing Beyond Earth is Fairchild’s school science project, designed in partnership with NASA Kennedy Space Center, to advance research on growing plants aboard spacecraft. According to Fairchild Garden officials, the SpaceX launch represents three years of intensive research and more than 15,000 students.

To find out more about the mission of this program, read the full-length feature on GrowingProduce.com.