Last year, the Center for the Advancement of Science in Space (CASIS) announced the ISS Cotton Sustainability Challenge, supported by Target.  With a focus on making cotton production more sustainable,  select labs across the country have been tasked with making these experiments a reality.

The astrobotany.com team is excited to hear that the University of Wisconsin-Madison Gilroy laboratory, which we are affiliated with, has been selected as one of the groups to send a cotton experiment up to the International Space Station.  For  a brief overview, check out the latest Astrobotany Show episode.

We’ll be covering the scope of this project here on astrobotany.com.  We’ll not only be discussing the science behind spaceflight plant biology, but also how the data retrieved from these assays will help the cotton industry with their goal of increasing sustainability.  One of the most exciting prospects of this experiment is the genetic analysis of cotton grown in space versus cotton grown on earth.  Space stressors such as microgravity and ionizing radiation are expected to have a large impact on cotton’s plant biology.  This data can be applied to crops in similarly stressful environments here on earth.

Besides being important, space cotton is just plain cool.

Let’s grow cotton in space.