In August 2007, the STS-118 space shuttle mission launched into space, and with it launched 10 million cinnamon basil seeds. Nearly all of the seeds were returned to Earth for students to grow in plant growth chambers they designed, but 16 of the seeds were left behind on the International Space Station for an in-orbit experiment. Along with the seeds, two plant growth chambers, watering devices and drink bags were also left on the space station for Expedition 15 and 16 Flight Engineer Clayton Anderson to use to grow plants from the seeds. Anderson documented the plants' growth by photographing the plants inside the chambers every other day for nearly three weeks. The objective of the experiment was to demonstrate growing plants in a microgravity environment using small plastic chambers. Students can compare the results from their plant growth chamber experiments with Anderson's results.
Earth Crew students are ready to start their experiments! They have been working hard designing their Lunar Habitats to grow plants. Now the real challenge comes. Students planted their seeds on Feb. 11, 2007. What an opportunity for them to get to study these types of specimens. We will keep you posted.