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Investigation's goals and objectives 

  • Reconfirming that Azuki bean sprouts will exhibit automorphogenesis when gravitational and light signals are removed. 
  • Taking quality video images of space-grown and ground-grown bean sprouts to enable the students to compare their shapes. 

  • Inspiring scientific education and space awareness amongst students from the Asia-Pacific region. 

Expected results and how they will advance the field of space biology

All plants, including the Azuki bean sprouts will grow differently in space than on Earth. We expect to see that the angle between the radicule and the epicotyl will always be different in the case of the plants grown in space. This suggests that the plants would exhibit a process known as automorphogenesis - as if they are taking a "default" shape. 

Students on the ground will notice the difference between the plants grown on the ground and in space, and find that plants do look different on Earth; that is due to their response to gravitational conditions. `

This type of research on the biology of plants in space will greatly help deepen our understanding of cellular mechanosensing process. That is because the biological sensing of mechanical signals, including gravity, is one of the key functions for life. Furthermore, this information about cellular mechanical sensors is essential for many fields of biomedical applications including tissue and organ regeneration technology. 

Why send the seed to ISS 

Concurrent experiments by students on the ground and by crew on the ISS is expected to stimulate space awareness amongst young participants. 

To investigate cellular mechanosensing process, it is necessary to utilize the condition in which input signal can be switched off. ISS is the best place to provide such condition. 

Although the primary purpose of this mission is education and outreach, observations from this mission can help at understanding of the biological mechanosensing process, because the precise nature of cellular mechanosensors are still unknown. 

 

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