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Abstract Detail



Developmental and Structural Section

Kiss, John [1], Millar, Katherine [1].

What is the minimum amount of gravity that a plant needs to function normally?

While there have been numerous studies on the effects of microgravity on plant biology since the beginning of the Space Age, our knowledge of the effects of reduced gravity (less than the Earth nominal 1g) on plant physiology and development is very limited. Since international space agencies have cited manned exploration of Moon/Mars as long-term goals, it is important to understand plant biology at the lunar (0.17g) and Martian levels of gravity (0.38g) as plants are likely be part of bioregenerative life support systems on these missions. Studies on gravitaxis and gravitropism in algae have suggested that the threshold level of gravity sensing is around 0.3g or less. Our recent experiments on the International Space Station (ISS) showed attenuation of phototropism in higher plants occurs due to levels ranging from 0.lg to 0.3g. Taken together, these studies suggest that the reduced gravity level on Mars of 0.38g may be enough so that the gravity level per se would not be a major problem for plant development. We suggest that the current ISS laboratory facilities with on-board centrifuges should be used as a test bed in which to explore the effects of reduced gravity on plant biology, including those factors which are directly related to developing life support systems necessary for Moon and Mars exploration. [Supported by NASA grants NNX10AM86G and NNX12AO65G.]

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1 - University of Mississippi, Graduate School, 100 Graduate House, University, MS, 38677, USA

Keywords:
gravitropism
phototropism
spaceflight experiments
microgravity
reduced gravity
Arabidopsis thaliana
International Space Station.

Presentation Type: Oral Paper:Papers for Sections
Session: 15
Location: Jasperwood/Riverside Hilton
Date: Tuesday, July 30th, 2013
Time: 8:00 AM
Number: 15001
Abstract ID:74
Candidate for Awards:None


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