Posted Tuesday, Dec. 11, 2012, at 1:48 PM
This artist's concept shows the International Space Station when its assembly sequence is completed in 2004, including minor changes to the final station configuration agreed upon by international partners in May 1998. The changes included reducing the number of Russian modules on the station by one while expanding the size of another Russian module. The 1-million pound station will have a pressurized volume equal to two jumbo jets and an acre of solar panels. (NASA image
Good news for future farmers in space: A new finding shows plants grow just fine without gravity.
National Geographic reports that an experiment sent to the International Space Station in 2010 has shown that seeds sprouted in space much the same as they would back on Earth, "growing away from the seed to seek nutrients and water in exactly the same pattern observed with gravity."
The flowers were grown on a nutrient-rich gel in clear Petri plates. The seedlings revealed that gravity plays little apparent role in plant growth, upending previous assumptions.
No doubt astronauts sent to colonize space will be relieved they can enjoy something more than freeze-dried ice cream on their way to the stars.