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Formation of an Interactive Plant Outreach Database with Integration of Clinostat Data for Space Life Sciences Education

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Formation of an Interactive Plant Outreach Database with Integration of Clinostat Data for Space Life Sciences Education Rachel Naegele 1 , Chinyere Nwokeabia 2 , Peter Chetirkin 3 , William Payne 4

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Formation of an Interactive Plant Outreach Database with Integration of Clinostat Data for Space Life Sciences Education

Rachel Naegele1, Chinyere Nwokeabia2, Peter Chetirkin3, William Payne4

1University of Hawaii Manoa, 2California State University, Long Beach, 3Dynamac Corporation, 4Matrix Information Systems Incorporated

initial description
INITIAL DESCRIPTION

An interactive plant outreach database (IPOD) would increase the accessibility of data to researchers, teachers and the general public. To demonstrate how future experiments can be integrated into IPOD, a 5 week experiment using clinostats was performed. The clinostats tested the effects of simulated microgravity upon Brassica rapa and the growth characteristics of BIONA, a Russian made substrate.

main story
MAIN STORY

Educational outreach is a very important aspect of NASA. One such endeavor by the Space Biology Outreach Program (SBOP) is the formation of an interactive plant outreach database (IPOD). IPOD would pull the experimental data and results from Biomass Production Chamber (BPC) experiments and other experiments grown in environmental growth chambers (EGCs). To demonstrate this integration, two students from NASA’s Spaceflight and Life Sciences Training Program conducted a 5 week experiment using clinostats. The experiment tested the difference between two versions of BIONA and Brassica rapa growth in clinostats. The clinostats were divided into 4 groups (3 bottles in each): static control, static experimental, vertical experimental and horizontal experimental (Fig. 1). A square of BIONA was added to each bottle as well as three Brassica rapa seeds. The plants were grown to maturity and harvested. Measurements of plant height, leaf and flower count, and mass were taken for each bottle. The measurements were examined for existing trends and characteristics (Fig.2). The information from this experiment was integrated into the database and made accessible to teachers, students and researchers. SBOP is also providing the same materials to teachers. Teachers will be able to perform similar experiments in their classrooms, and students will be able to add their data to IPOD and compare it with existing data.

This research was conducted as part of the 2004 Spaceflight and Life Sciences Training Program funded by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. The authors recognize the support of the Dynamac Corporation, the NASA Spaceflight and Life Sciences Training Program Academic Partner Alliance and the United States Department of Agriculture.

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Horizontal experimental treatment 90° to gravity

Static control treatment

Static experimental treatment

Vertical experimental treatment

Figure 1. Experimental setup with clinostat and static groups

Figure 2. Comparison of the water loss between Static BIONA V3 and Static control BIONA V4

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