Spicy chile pepper flowers bloom aboard the International Space Station.

Gil Cauthorn — Sep 16th 2021

For the first time, NASA astronauts are growing Española chile peppers aboard the International Space Station. This this past week, photos were shown of the recent white blooms of the pepper plants, signaling the hopeful start of the first fruits grown in space! Since June of this year, “Española Impoved” chile peppers have been growing… Read More

Eyes in the Sky

Stephen Lantin — May 17th 2021

Imagine this: you’re an astronaut and you want to grow plants in space, but you’re worried because you might be too busy to water them every day, or worse—a plant disease might sneak up on you and ruin your next salad! What do you do? Get computers to run the farm: Automate your plant growth… Read More

Happy International Women’s Day to all of the outstanding women that contribute to Astrobotany!

Sara Humphrey — Mar 8th 2021

This post is written by Sara Humphrey, a student researcher, astrobotanist, and contributor to astrobotany.com, speaking on International Women’s Day. The first time I ever heard of astrobotany was when Dr. Anna-Lisa Paul earned NASA’s Exceptional Scientific Achievement medal. Her amazing research was my introduction to astrobotany, and I’ve been hooked ever since. I can’t help but… Read More

Dr. Kent Kobayashi: Explosive Curiosity for Science

Sara Humphrey — Mar 6th 2021

As part of our ongoing series of interviews with astrobotanists, I sat down with Dr. Kent Kobayashi to discuss his career. Decades ago, a young teenage boy crept into his aunts’ laundry room with a firecracker. He ran water into a sturdy concrete sink, filling it to the top. Carefully he cut a piece of… Read More

Why not use sunlight?

Sara Humphrey — Feb 20th 2021

Plants need light to live and grow, and it takes a lot of energy to grow plants using man-made light fixtures. So why don’t we use sunlight instead? Why don’t we use sunlight to grow plants on the International Space Station (ISS)? Engineering challenges Windows take a lot of time, effort, and money to design… Read More

Four Years of Astrobotany.com

Kai Rasmussen — Feb 20th 2021

February 19th 2021 marked the 4 year anniversary of astrobotany.com. Hi all, I am incredibly humbled that astrobotany.com has been up and running for four years. I am in awe, and extremely proud of how much knowledge the site has accumulated in its short time on the internet. Four years ago, this website was little… Read More

Clovers in Space: ExoLab-8 Mission

Gil Cauthorn — Feb 18th 2021

Clovers in Space: ExoLab-8 Mission ExoLab-8 Mission The next Cygnus launch aboard the Antares rocket is scheduled for February 20, 2021 at 12:36 p.m. ET, from the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport (MARS) Pad 0A on Wallops Island, Virginia. This resupply mission, known as Cygnus NG-15, will deliver approximately 3,279 kg of cargo to the International Space… Read More

Parabolic Flights

Sara Humphrey — Feb 8th 2021

Parabolic flights (often called “vomit comet” flights) provide an analog platform for microgravity research. Essentially, a  reduced-gravity aircraft flies upward, then it curves like a parabola and flies downward so fast that the people and equipment inside experience microgravity for less than 30 seconds. This brief period of weightlessness allows researchers time to do experiments,… Read More

Microgreens in Space

Gil Cauthorn — Jan 21st 2021

Microgreens in Space Why are edible plants important to space missions? Future long-term space missions are critically dependent on sustainably maintaining both the physiological and psychological health of crew members. One important aspect is the ability to provide crews with optimal nutrition while reducing the need for Earth-based resupply. The cost and space requirements currently… Read More