December 12, 2019
We’re sending hemp and coffee to space! In partnership with Space Cells USA Inc. and BioServe Space Technologies at the University of Colorado, Boulder, we are conducting a mission to transport plant cultures to space to examine zero gravity's effects on the plants' metabolic pathways. Read an excerpt from our press release discussing the partnership:
“The experiment, being targeted for transportation to the space station aboard the SpaceX CRS-20 cargo flight scheduled for March 2020, will look at how plant cells undergo gene expression changes or genetic mutations while in space. Front Range Biosciences is providing the plant cultures, while SpaceCells will provide expertise, management and funding for the project. BioServe has flight qualified hardware to house the plant cultures and facilities on board the International Space Station (ISS) to maintain the cultures under controlled conditions. BioServe will manifest and integrate the experiment and will work with the NASA astronauts to transfer experiment hardware to BioServe's incubator on board ISS and execute the experiment.
“Up to 480 plant cell cultures will reside in a space-made incubator that will regulate temperature in their temporary home aboard the ISS for about 30 days. The environmental conditions for the cultures will be monitored remotely from BioServe's payload operations center at the University of Colorado, Boulder. After about a month, the cells will be returned to Earth, where researchers at Front Range Biosciences will examine the plant samples and evaluate their RNA to determine how microgravity and space radiation exposure altered the plants gene expression.
“‘This is one of the first times anyone is researching the effects of microgravity and spaceflight on hemp and coffee cell cultures,’ said Dr. Jonathan Vaught, Co-Founder and CEO of Front Range Biosciences. ‘There is science to support the theory that plants in space experience mutations. This is an opportunity to see whether those mutations hold up once brought back to earth and if there are new commercial applications.’
“Ultimately, the results of the research could help growers and scientists identify new varieties or chemical expressions in the plant. This will also allow scientists to better understand how plants manage the stress of space travel and set the stage for a whole new area of research for the company and the industry.”
Read the full press release here.
We look forward to seeing the results of our partnership with SpaceCells USA Inc. and BioServe Space Technologies! See a selection of coverage from the press release below:
Please complete the contact form below to receive our farming recommendations.