UW researchers hope space plants help future expeditions

More than 1,000 frozen plants came from International Space Station
UW researchers hope space plants help future expeditions
Dishes with the germinated plants as sent into space

On the University of Wisconsin campus researchers anxiously awaited a special delivery Thursday all the way from the International Space Station.

The delivery of more than 1,000 plants from the Kennedy Space Center arrived frozen. The plants were grown in the weightlessness of the ISS.

Researchers experimenting with genetics hope to figure out how to sustain astronauts and future expeditions.

“For very long duration of space flight this may be telling us part of the answer about how we’re going to be able to sustain astronauts for years,” UW botany professor Simon Gilroy said. “A trip to Mars is going to be a very, very long trip.”

The plants will be thawed slowly before researchers can observe the plants’ molecules.