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MSU seed experiment aboard Artemis mission around the moon

Artemis I lifts off at Kennedy Space Center in Florida on Wednesday, Nov. 16, 2022.
Isaac Watson
Artemis I lifts off at Kennedy Space Center in Florida on Wednesday, Nov. 16, 2022.

The uncrewed Artemis I spacecraft mission around the moon has finally been launched by NASA, after being delayed for months by technical problems and Hurricane Ian.

Aboard is a Michigan State University experiment to see how food might be grown during space travel.

Artemis I marks the third time MSU plant biology professor Federica Brandizzi has sent seeds into space. Twice before, it was to the International Space Station.

Brandizzi says it’s difficult to grow plants to the volumes needed to support human life in space.

“We are trying to grow food in an environment that plants have never experienced before,” she said.

Brandizzi adds that plants can get “confused” in a weightless environment.

“They don’t have a gravitational vector,” Brandizzi said. “It’s very difficult to water plants in space because of that. Also, plants are confused, they don’t know where to go, really, which directions to go.”

Once the spacecraft returns to Earth, Brandizzi and her team will test the seeds to see if they are still able to produce healthy plants.

Scott Pohl is a general assignment news reporter and produces news features and interviews. He is also an alternate local host on NPR's "Morning Edition."
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