While some kids avoid broccoli on the dinner plate, students at Valley Christian High School (VCHS) are attempting to grow them in space. Using the BAM-FX micronutrient delivery system aboard the International Space Station (ISS), this educational research experiment will attempt to hydrate, germinate, and grow broccoli seeds from dehydrated media and compare the plant growth with and without the BAM-FX Nutrient Solution.
Developed by a team of eleven high school students and VCHS mentors, the initial ground experiments proved successful, as the broccoli grew faster and significantly larger than the control study. After months of testing, the experiment was launched aboard the SpaceX Dragon CRS-14 Mission and delivered to the ISS on May 21, 2018.
“The aim of the experiment is to educate students and investigate the possibility of helping dehydrated seeds of crop plants hydrate, germinate, and grow better in microgravity,” said Dr. John Freeman, Intrinsyx Technologies Corporation plant stress physiologist and mentor to the students. “The bio-fortified broccoli [could] help improve the astronauts’ immune system defenses on long missions going to Mars.”
Back on earth, the team eagerly awaits the results of the experiment, with a return date not yet set. Until then, you can trust that the students will never look at vegetables the same.
This educational research flight experiment is a collaboration between VCHS, The Quest Institute for Quality Education, Space Tango, Intrinsyx Technologies Corporation, and NASA Ames Research Center (via the Space Act Agreement with the NASA U.S. National Lab on the ISS). For additional information please contact Dan Saldana (firstname.lastname@example.org).