The Brandizzi Laboratory of the Michigan State University (MSU) is
sending seeds enriched in amino acids of the plant/Arabidopsis
thaliana/to space to investigate if fortifying seeds on Earth could
create a more sustainable path to growing healthier, nutrient-packed
plants in space as a source of food for space travelers.
The experiment is one of four that is part of the National Aeronautics
and Space Administration's (NASA) Biological and Physical Sciences'
Biological Experiment 01 (BioExpt-01) mission through Artemis I that
will serve as a pathfinder for biological research beyond low-Earth
orbit. The MSU scientists' objective for sending the/Arabidopsis/seeds
into space is to study the impact of space-flight beyond the Van Allen
radiation belt on amino acids of the plant.
Amino acids are the building blocks of proteins that keep plants strong
on earth and serve as nutrient sources for people who eat them. Previous
studies have shown that plants grown in space are subject to several
stressors and lose nutrients, including amino acids, in microgravity.
The MSU scientists are trying to understand the biology and development
of plants in space better to compensate for these changes and improve
plant productivity using the seeds they modified. Since these seeds have
higher amino acid content essential for the human diet, they may aid
astronauts in growing and producing their own nutritious food during
long-distance space travel.
Obtaining the result from these experiments can help researchers
understand how biological life forms can survive more in deep space and
support future manned missions to the Moon and Mars.