The assembly of the International Space Station (ISS) as a permanent experimental outpost has provided the opportunity for quality plant research in space. To take advantage of this orbital laboratory, engineers and scientists at the Wisconsin Center for Space Automation and Robotics (WCSAR), University of Wisconsin-Madison, developed a plant growth facility capable of supporting plant growth in the microgravity environment. Utilizing this Advanced Astroculture (ADVASC) plant growth facility, an experiment was conducted with the objective to grow Arabidopsis thaliana plants from seed-to-seed on the ISS. Dry Arabidopsis seeds were anchored in the root tray of the ADVASC growth chamber. These seeds were successfully germinated from May 10 until the end of June 2001. Arabidopsis plants grew and completed a full life cycle in microgravity. This experiment demonstrated that ADVASC is capable of providing environment conditions suitable for plant growth and development in microgravity. The normal progression through the life cycle, as well as the postflight morphometric analyses, demonstrate that Arabidopsis thaliana does not require the presence of gravity for growth and development.
c2003 COSPAR. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.