ASGSB 1999 Annual Meeting Abstracts


FINAL PLANT EXPERIMENTS ON MIR PROVIDE SECOND GENERATION WHEAT AND SEEDS. G.E. Bingham1, V.N. Sytchev2, M.A. Levinskikh2, and I.G. Podolsky2. 1Plants, Soils & Biometeorology Dept. and Space Dynamics Laboratory, Utah State University, Logan, UT. 2Institute of Biomedical Problems, Moscow.

When the last utilization cosmonauts return to earth from the Mir Orbital Station at the end of August, 1999 they will bring with them dry matter samples of Apogee wheat grown from seed that were also grown on Mir. Video and crew descriptions indicate that these 2nd generation space plants also contain seeds.  Harvest is scheduled for July 10, 1999.  If these seeds are viable, this effort will complete a quest to demonstrate serial plant propagation in space that begun over 25 years ago.  This experiment is the fifth in the successful “Greenhouse” (GH) series of experiments that has spanned Mir’s life.  During the joint US - Russian Shuttle - Mir and NASA Mir experiments (GH 2 & 3 two vigorous but seedless Super Dwarf wheat crops (GH 2) and three Brasica crops were planted, resulting in the first ever 1st generation space plants.  During these two experiments, the high concentration of ethylene in the Mir atmosphere was diagnosed (resulting in the seedless wheat heads and dwarfed Brassica plants).  After the joint NASA experiments, two additional seed to seed Apogee wheat crops were grown in the Svet-GEMS complex. Ground testing has shown Apogee to be much less sensitive to ethylene. In GH 4, twenty Apogee plants produced over 500 seedsDry matter samples and most of the seeds were returned to earth. All seeds were normal and good growth on the Earth In GH 5, 10 seeds were planted, producing the 2nd generation crop.  Germination in space appears to be a problem in Apogee. 

(GH 4 & 5 supported by Russian Scientific Program & SDL/USU. We thank NASA for use of the GEMS and other GH equipment and Dr. Gary Jahns for his scientific contributions to the GH program.)


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