Who grows Seeds in Space?
The “Space Seeds for Asian Future” programme is an initiative of the Asia-Pacific Regional Space Agency Forum (APRSAF). One of its objectives is to promote the use of the Japanese space module which is onboard the International Space Station (ISS). The module is also known as Kibo and the project is called “Kibo – ABC”.
APRSAF wishes to provide children and students in the Asia-Pacific region with an opportunity to learn about space experiments or the space environment including orbital microgravity.
2013: a batch of Azuki beans was grown for seven days onboard the Japanese module of the International Space Station, KiboABC. Astronauts filmed the entire process of the Azuki beans sprouting in space and transmitted the images back to Earth. This experiment showed the difference between plants grown in space compared to the same plants grown on Earth. Some of the seeds who went to space in 2011 were distributed to schools including New Zealand. Some of these schools also had a chance to grow impatiens flowers from seeds that went to space with the 2011 mission.
2011: Japan initiated the first “Asian Seeds” programme in space, when seeds collected from several Asian countries were sent to the International Space Station and then returned to Earth. These seeds were then used for various experiments.
What happens in AHiS 2021
Asian Herbs in Space (AHiS) is a Kibo beginner programme designed to promote awareness of space utilisation. Therefore it is especially designed for schools or early researchers.
In the AHiS experiment, sweet basil and holy basil are grown in the ISS for one month. After growing, these basil plants are returned to the ground, and detailed analysis such as morphological analysis, scent analysis, and gene expression analysis will be performed.
Objectives of AhiS 2021
To promote plant sciences and microgravity sciences.
To develop interest in scientific space experiments and research for students and researchers.
To investigate microgravity effects on plant growth comparing them with the control samples on the ground, which is what the students and researchers are growing.
2021: Participating organisations and their activities
Australian Space Agency (Australia); National Museum of Science and Technology (Bangladesh); National Institute of Aeronautics and Space (Indonesia); Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (Japan); Malaysian Space Agency (Malaysia); Nepal Scientific Activities and Research Center (Nepal); New Zealand Astrobiology Network (New Zealand); Singapore Space and Technology Limited (Singapore); National Space Organization (Taiwan); National Science and Technology Development Agency (Thailand); UAE Space Agency (United Arab Emirates); Space Technology Institute, Vietnam Academy of Science and Technology (Vietnam)