The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) is one of the oldest and most respected space organizations in the world. Spaceflight is synonymous with NASA. From the first moon landing to deep space Voyager missions, NASA is involved with all things space. It’s only logical that they have a strong vested interest in astrobotany and astrobotany research.
NASA and Astrobotany Research
NASA supports astrobotany research in a variety of ways. Their interest in spaceflight plant biology dates back to the inception of the agency. As early as 1954, NASA was studying using algae for bioregenerative life support systems.
Their legacy continues today. NASA’s Space Life and Physical Sciences Research and Applications (SLPSRA) division is responsible for astrobotany research. The International Space Station has their own VEGGIE unit where plants are grown. NASA’s BRIC (Biological Research In Canisters) program allows for plant research in space. NASA astronauts are among the first to grow plants in space. In 2014, Don Pettit grew zucchini on the ISS. In 2016, a zinnia bloomed under Scott Kelly’s care. In addition to this, NASA supports astrobotany research by awarding research grants, contracts, and much more to various universities, labs and organizations.