Careers in Astrobotany

Student Education

If you’re looking to contribute to the astrobotany body of work, keep your eyes out for new tools and resources here on  We encourage students of all ages to explore the TOAST database and read up on spaceflight plant biology.  We are also actively working on software and equipment to better reach young scientists.


Are you looking for a career in the field of astrobotany or astrobiology?  Now is a great time to get involved with an expanding discipline that has larger implications for the future of space travel.  Check out some of the resources available. Below are laboratories and research institutions who work in astrobotany related fields.


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 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.

Related Page: NASA Target Crops

NASA Kennedy Space Center

Dr. Raymond Wheeler and Dr. Gioia Massa are seasoned research botanists who are focused on astrobotany in their roles at NASA Kennedy Space Center.  Please check out the NASA KSC Pathways Home page for more information about opportunities with NASA.

Gilroy Lab (University of Wisconsin-Madison)

The Gilroy Lab is a research lab in the botany department at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and is funded by NASA.  The Gilroy Lab is run by Dr. Simon Gilroy and the research focus is on plant gravitropism and signaling.

Space Plants (University of Florida)

University of Florida Space Plants is a NASA funded research lab headed by Dr. Robert Ferl and Dr. Anna-Lisa Paul.

Kiss Lab (University of North Carolina-Greensboro)

Dr. John Z. Kiss researches the molecular mechanism of gravitropism and phototropism, and regularly sends astrobotany experiments to the International Space Station.

Wyatt Lab (Ohio University)

One of Dr. Sarah Wyatt‘s research objectives is studying plant signaling, especially as it relates to gravity stimulus.  The Wyatt Lab has sent plant to the International Space Station.  They have also collaborated with Dr. Wolverton, below.

Wolverton Lab (Ohio Wesleyan University)

Dr. Wolverton is a botany professor at Ohio Wesleyan University who has sent plant samples to the International Space Station.  His research focus is plant signaling.