Seeds in Space!

Posted by niilaaci aacimwaapiikonki on Monday, August 1, 2011

This summer, we enjoyed a once- in-a-lifetime opportunity to participate in NASA’s last space shuttle Flight STS-135. Tobacco seeds from our collection traveled 5,284,662 miles in 200 earth orbits aboard shuttle Atlantis.  Jim Rock, Dakota educator and a member of the Science Museum’s American Indian Advisory Board secured us some space to test the extent to which their germination would occur in a microgravity and soilless environment in some very sophisticated test tubes (cell chambers seen above). Rock worked with John M. Cassanto, President Instrumentation Technology Associates Inc.who designed the cell chambers and was very generous to donate enough space for six of these cell chambers to house our seeds.  

The seeds for the STS-135 mission were carefully chosen to meet NASA’s strict space requirements and hand-delivered by Rock to the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland. They were then transferred to Cape Canaveral for the shuttle mission.