An experiment which involves alfalfa sprouts will be sent to space with the help of NASA. In the summer, the Student Spaceflight Experiments Program will be launched, giving students the chance to send projects to the International Space Station. A team of five students wants to send alfalfa sprouts to space.
They aim to observe if the growth of alfalfa sprouts can be influenced by exposure to microgravity. The sprouts used in the project were provided by Eat More Sprouts, a food company located in Courtenay.
Co-owner Carmen Wakeling is very enthusiastic about the opportunity. She declared that according to researchers alfalfa sprouts are great for experiments since they grow very fast and the experiments can be repeated more often in comparison to other crops which have a more extended downtime period.
Food producer will send alfalfa sprouts to space
The Students Spaceflight Experiments Program was initiated in 2010 by the National Center for Earth and Space Science Education in partnership with NanoRacks, LLC and the Arthur C. Clarke Institute for Space Education. A call-out for projects began in September 2018 with students in Grade 5 to 12 from School District 69 were invited.
Wakeling has also noted that she supported the project right from the start. She was contacted in September by teaching Mr. Carl Savage, which proposed the plan. A meeting with the students was organized at the company facility, where the students toured the company while Wakeling and Savage discussed the requirements which need to be fulfilled to grow healthy sprouts.
Three projects from the district were cleared for participation in the final stage of the competition. The SSEP review commission decided that the project, which is called Investing the Growth Patterns of Alfalfa (Medicago Sativa) Sprouts in Microgravity: a Potential Nourishment for future Manned Spaceflight will be sent to the International Space Station.
Both the food company and the school are looking forward to the results of the experiment which should become available in the following months.
Karen and her husband live on a plot of land in British Columbia. They aim to grow and raise a significant part of their food by maintaining a vegetable garden, keeping a flock of backyard chickens and foraging. They are also currently planning a move to a small cabin they hand built. Karen’s academic background in nutrition made her care deeply about real food and seek ways to obtain it. Thus sprung Anna’s interest in backyard gardening, chicken and goat keeping, recycling and self-sufficiency.