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**Astrobotany Overview**:
Astrobotany is the study of plants in space environments.
– It is a branch of astrobiology and botany focusing on growing plants in space for food and oxygen.
– Psychological benefits for spaceflight crews are associated with astrobotany research.
– Challenges include gravity effects on root development and lighting needs in space.

**Extraterrestrial Vegetation Exploration**:
– Investigating alien plant life on other planets and exomoons.
– Use of biosignatures like vegetation red edge for detection.
– Challenges in detecting extraterrestrial vegetation due to technology limitations.
– Speculative descriptions based on physics and chemistry principles, influenced by star types.

**Astrobotany History and Achievements**:
– The term ‘astrobotany’ coined in 1945 by Gavriil Adrianovich Tikhov.
– Early experiments with seeds launched on V-2 rockets and Apollo missions.
– Growth of various plants like Arabidopsis, rice, and lettuce in space.
– Known terrestrial plants successfully grown in space and their role in life support systems.
– Contributions of space agriculture to long-duration missions and bioregenerative life support systems.

**Plant Growth in Space Conditions**:
– Effects of microgravity on plant cell walls, root growth, and stem morphology.
– Studies on gene expression changes, amyloplast movement, and gravisensitivity of plant roots in space.
– Experiments like GRAVI-2 and research by space agencies on plant biology adaptations to extreme environments.
– NASA’s VEGGIE project and experiments aboard the International Space Station for plant growth.
– Future prospects of astrobotany in sustainable food production systems and supporting space exploration missions.

**Astrobotany in Popular Culture and Future Research**:
– Depictions of astrobotanical research in movies like ‘Avatar’ and ‘The Martian’.
– Ongoing research with telescopes like the James Webb Space Telescope for extraterrestrial vegetation detection.
– Development of Extremely Large Telescopes and Habitable Exoplanet Imaging Mission for exoplanet exploration.
– Studies on vegetation biosignatures, color of plants on other worlds, and potential for detecting alien life.
– Collaboration between space agencies and researchers to enhance astrobotany research for future space exploration.

Astrobotany (Wikipedia)

Astrobotany is an applied sub-discipline of botany that is the study of plants in space environments. It is a branch of astrobiology and botany.

A zucchini being grown on the International Space Station

Astrobotany concerns both the study of extraterrestrial vegetation discovery, as well as research into the growth of terrestrial vegetation in outer space by humans.

It has been a subject of study that plants may be grown in outer space typically in a weightless but pressurized controlled environment in specific space gardens. In the context of human spaceflight, they can be consumed as food and/or provide a refreshing atmosphere. Plants can metabolize carbon dioxide in the air to produce valuable oxygen, and can help control cabin humidity. Growing plants in space may provide a psychological benefit to human spaceflight crews.

The first challenge in growing plants in space is how to get plants to grow without gravity. This runs into difficulties regarding the effects of gravity on root development, providing appropriate types of lighting, and other challenges. In particular, the nutrient supply to root as well as the nutrient biogeochemical cycles, and the microbiological interactions in soil-based substrates are particularly complex, but have been shown to make possible space farming in hypo- and micro-gravity.

NASA plans to grow plants in space to help feed astronauts, and to provide psychological benefits for long-term space flight.

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