• Question: When seeds are in space what effect does the different environment do to the seed?

    Asked by 305trn27 to Anne on 12 Oct 2015. This question was also asked by Gibson.
    • Photo: Anne Visscher

      Anne Visscher answered on 12 Oct 2015:

      Hi 305trn27,

      That’s exactly what we would like to find out more about: some seeds have already been sent into outer space on satellites and on the outside of space stations, so we know that they can survive vacuum for quite a long time (the longest experiment so far was 69 months on the LDEF facility).
      We would like to send 24 different species to the outside of the ISS and test their germination after they come back down to Earth. By doing experiments we hope to find out why some species survive vacuum or ultraviolet radiation better than others.
      Vacuum is known to dry seeds out so much that they have only about 1% moisture left, and ultraviolet radiation is known to damage DNA.