Seeds in space

Nanoracks StarLab, USA and the UAE 1 minute read

Nanoracks, a private enterprise providing commercial access to space for research, is building a Space Farming Center in the United Arab Emirates.

Imagine an orbiting greenhouse laboratory executing research projects on behalf of anyone interested in using it to improve life on Earth. A privately owned space station with farming utilities where scientists and enterprises from all over the world can focus exclusively on using intergalactic space to cultivate better, more resilient and higher-yielding agricultural products, and to devise more efficient harvesting techniques.

To address the challenges our Planet is currently facing, Nanoracks StarLab has partnered with the Abu Dhabi Investment Office to realize this endeavor via Nanoracks’ Agriculture Technology Incentive Program. The Center will focus on advancing knowledge and technology about organisms and foods that are produced in the harsh and alien environment of space – an environment that Planet Earth is mimicking more and more as climate change continues to alter arable lands and cause water scarcity and higher temperatures.

Similar research, funded by various space agencies, has been conducted for several decades, providing evidence that seedlings can grow hardier, more quickly in space where there are high radiation levels and dramatic temperature fluctuations that trigger positive stress on a genetic level. It seems that these stress factors combine to produce uniquely useful biomass products, such as seeds, plants and flowers. They can also help us better understand how plant microbiomes work, leading to improved yields back on Earth. Nanoracks has substantial experience in operating a commercial laboratory aboard the International Space Station, the ISS, offering opportunities for educational, institutional or industrial research. Since 2011, the company has launched more than 200 small satellites into orbit, and over a thousand research projects from organizations in over 30 nations.