Friday, May 28, 2010

Seeds From Space!

As a teacher I'm always looking for interesting things to do in the classroom. I somehow found out about the Tomatosphere project and now in my class I have two sets of tomato plants growing. One set being from normal, ordinary tomato seeds and the other from seeds that were on board an International Space Station. Yes, space seeds! Here they are below, floating with Astronaut Robert Thirsk. Pretty cool, eh?
This is a blind experiment so I don't know (yet) which seeds are which, but as you can see, one set of seeds grew much better than the other.
The main reason for this experiment is to understand issues related to long-term space travel. Traveling to and from Mars could take up to three years so astronauts need to learn how they can grow food for their journey. How does the carbon dioxide that plants inevitably consume from the astronauts' breathing affect their growth?
The plants are big enough now that they are beginning to smell like tomato plants and the kids are obsessed with putting their noses right in there. Kinda funny.

So, do you think the space seeds yielded the faster or slower growing plants?


  1. where did you get SPACE SEEDS?!?!?! that is soo cool! I would love to do something like this with my students! too bad school ends in a month and i'm not teach again next year. but i could grow space tomatoes on my own! how do i get my hands on some space seeds? do you think they are the crazy steroid plants that grew better?

  2. Thats unbelievably cool! What lucky students you have.

    I couldnt even guess for sure which is which though. Someone with gardening experience might be able to tell you how the atmosphere affects plant growth though..

  3. Julia - go to the link in the blog post and click on the tomato that says Register Now! You can still register for 2010 and it looks like they'll send seeds anywhere. I am hoping the space seeds are the big ones!