Subscribe to our free daily newsletters
  Space Travel News  




Subscribe to our free daily newsletters



Endeavour Carries Millions Of Basil Seeds Up And Back

The Materials on the International Space Station Experiment-3, or MISSE 3, was attached to the outside of the space station in August 2006. The suitcase-sized container is filled with hundreds of materials to study how each is affected by the space environment. Credit: NASA
by Staff Writers
Houston TX (SPX) Aug 17, 2007
So, can you make spaghetti sauce in space? Well, you'll need several ingredients, but you're sure to have plenty of one: STS-118 mission specialist Barbara Morgan has carried millions of basil seeds with her on board space shuttle Endeavour to the International Space Station. These seeds are joining three million other basil seeds that have been flying on the station for a year and are waiting for Morgan to bring them back to Earth.

Materials on the International Space Station Experiment 3 and 4, known as MISSE - 3 and 4, are the third and fourth in a series of suitcase-sized test beds containing many different materials, including seeds, placed outside the station to test how they withstand the harsh environment of space.

Some of the basil seeds will remain on the station to be grown in zero gravity. The rest will be returned to Earth and divided into kits for students to study seed germination rates -- how fast the space basil grows compared to Earth basil. Students will also learn more about the scientific method -- techniques for investigating phenomena and acquiring new knowledge about a subject.

To get the seeds to classrooms, NASA works with the George W. Park Seed Company in Greenwood, S.C. The company began its relationship with NASA and student experiments in the 1980s with the Space Exposed Experiment Developed for Students, or SEEDS program. During that experiment, more than 12 million tomato seeds flew on the Long Duration Exposure Facility -- deployed in 1984 by space shuttle Challenger to provide long-term data on the space environment and its effects on space systems and operations.

"I think the kids will be excited to work with something that's been in space. And to know, for this experiment, there are no answers in the back of a book," said Miria Finckenor, an engineer at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala., and one of the Materials on the International Space Station Experiment investigators. "We hope to get more students interested in science and reach as many as we did with the tomato seeds experiment," she said. More than 40,000 classrooms in all 50 states and 30 foreign countries participated in that program.

In addition to the educational benefits, the Materials on the International Space Station Experiments, managed by NASA's Langley Research Center in Hampton, Va., are contributing a wealth of data on spacecraft materials back to the International Space Station Program, NASA's Constellation Program and a number of defense programs.

The first two external materials science experiments on the space station flew from 2001 to 2005, and another flew on the station a year later. Upon their return to Earth, the samples were examined by principal investigator William Kinard at Langley, Finckenor and many other researchers involved in the project.

One of the most significant results from these test beds is confirmation that the contamination control for the station -- the method for tracking whether scientific instruments, windows, radiators and other hardware is staying clean from contaminants such as dust, dirt, or hair -- is working.

The experiments showed that samples of the glass used in station windows were better than 90 percent clear, and samples of the same white thermal coatings used on station radiators looked like new, even after four years in space. "We want to keep the windows clean so the astronauts can not only look outside but are also able to snap good photographs of Earth," Finckenor said. "We also want to keep the thermal coatings white so that the thermal control system -- which includes the radiators that keep the station and its crew at comfortable temperature -- works properly."

The sixth materials experiment, or MISSE-6, will fly to the station on board STS-123, scheduled for launch in early 2008. It will carry 140 samples from the Marshall Center, including materials such as the heatshield, radiation shielding and data matrix identification markers for the Orion crew exploration vehicle. That vehicle is capable of carrying up to six astronauts to low Earth orbit atop the in-line, two-stage rocket, Ares I crew launch vehicle.

Related Links
Growing seeds from space
Space Tourism, Space Transport and Space Exploration News



Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily :: SpaceWar :: TerraDaily :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News


Houston Wine Company Offers Wine Discount To NASA Astronauts
Houston, TX (SPX) Jul 31, 2007
A Houston based wine company, "Luko Wines", which makes botique wines in California has reacted to the obvious need of NASA astronauts by offering them a 10% discount. The owner, James Luko, is quoted as saying "for operational and safety reasons, it's better that our astronauts at least have access to high quality wine with low sulfites to reduce adverse reactions once they are in orbit. We support the astronauts dangerous missions and if they feel the need to supplement their training with a little, 'space juice' then why not use the best available?"







  • India Wants To Launch First Reusuable Space Launcher By 2010
  • NASA Awards First Stage Contract For Ares Rockets
  • UC Experts Detail New Standard For Cleaner Transportation Fuels
  • Indigenous Cryogenic Stage Tested For Eight Minutes

  • Ariane 5 - Third Dual-Payload Launch Of 2007
  • Lockheed Martin Marks 33rd Consecutive A2100 Success With The Launch Of BSAT-3A
  • ILS to Launch Inmarsat Satellite On Proton Vehicle Next Spring
  • Russian Proton-M Rocket To Launch Japanese Telecoms Satellite

  • Hurricane shortens Endeavour mission
  • Crew Holds Class In Space, Prepares For Possible Repair Work
  • NASA 'optimistic' no repair job needed on damaged shuttle tiles
  • NASA still mulling shuttle repair spacewalk

  • Outside View: Obsolete space industry
  • Mastracchio And Williams Install New Station Control Moment Gyroscope (CMG)
  • Punctured astronaut's spacesuit cuts short spacewalk
  • Astronauts prepare for first spacewalk of Endeavour mission

  • NASA says shuttle heat shield needs no repair
  • US shuttle to return early to avoid hurricane
  • Hurricane looming on Earth, astronauts rush space walk to hasten return
  • Endeavour Carries Millions Of Basil Seeds Up And Back

  • At Least 3 Chinese Satellites Malfunctioning Since 2006
  • China reveals deadly threat to historic space flight
  • China Trains Rescue Teams For Third Manned Space Program
  • Chinese Astronauts Begin Training For Spacewalk

  • Drive-By-Wire And Human Behavior Systems Key To Virginia Tech Urban Challenge Vehicle
  • Successful Jules Verne Rendezvous Simulation At ATV Control Centre
  • Robotic Einstein Wows Spanish Technology Fair
  • Robotic Ankle For Amputees Is Developed

  • Phoenix Adjusts Course Successfully For Journey To Mars
  • What Makes Mars Magnetic
  • Helping Phoenix Land
  • Brighter Skies Lifts Rover Spirit As MER-A Gets Active

  • The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright Space.TV Corporation. AFP and UPI Wire Stories are copyright Agence France-Presse and United Press International. ESA Portal Reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement, agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space.TV Corp on any Web page published or hosted by Space.TV Corp. Privacy Statement