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Purdue experiment to test how plants grow in space

– An experiment by Purdue University scientists will test how plants grow in response to various levels of gravity.

The experiment is set to be launched on the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket on Monday at Cape Canaveral, Fla.

Professor Jenna Rickus says learning how to grow plants in low or zero gravity is crucial to the future of space exploration. The experiment will investigate how variations in gravity affect a process called calcium signaling that determines the direction in which sprouts and roots grow.

Rickus says the experiment will help determine the minimum gravity needed to support that process and might tell scientists whether artificial gravity might be necessary to grow crops for food on missions to far planets.

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