What are the effects of microgravity
on Vigna Radiata ( Mung Bean )
We have selected Vigna Radiata ( Mung Bean ) for this experiment because several experiments have already been conducted to attempt to grow other edible plants such as soybeans and corn in microgravity. Mung beans, alternatively known as the green gram, maash, moong, monggo, or munggo is a plant species in the legume family that has been cultivated since ancient times. While native to India, mung beans later spread to China and various parts of Southeast Asia.
They are full of protein, vitamins, fibers, and antioxidants; and may also have medicinal properties.
The goal of this experiment is to sprout Mung beans in microgravity to measure its effects. The experiment is constrained to a mixstix with three chambers with a total capacity of 8.4 ml.
The first part of our project is the "experiment optimization" phase, to determine the optimal conditions to sprout the beans in this environment.
The affect Micro Gravity of Radiata
Mung beans usually sprout in approximately three to seven days here on earth, but we are curious to see how the sprouts will adapt to microgravity. They might grow bigger and faster than the control group. I might also have a different color, and grow differently.
Beans on Mars
While settling on the moon or on their way to mars, Astronauts will not be able to pack all of the food that they will need with them and will have to start relying on nutritious food that they can grow themselves. Plants will also help absorb carbon dioxide and help maintain a breathable atmosphere, so we believe this could could be a valuable resource for the space community.
Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech
How this experiment will go to Space
The experiment will be conducted on the International Space Station (ISS). It will be placed on a Dragon 2 spacecraft on its second cargo resupply mission to the ISS, and placed on top of SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket CRS 22 which is scheduled to be launched from Cape Canaveral, Florida in June 2021.
Image Credit: NASA
On the International Space Station
While on the ISS, astronauts will have a few interactions with the experiment. The experiment must start and end in microgravity, so the astronauts will open the first chamber of the mixstix to allow for the nutrients and the beans to start germinating. The second interaction will be to release the second chamber, which will release the Formaline and end the experiment.
The experiment will then be returned back to earth for analysis.
The control group
A secondary experiment with a control group will be conducted on earth under the same timeframe and conditions. The two samples will then be analyzed, and the team will look for any differences of the plants, mutations, color changes, etc.