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Germination, growth rates, and electron microscope analysis of tomato seeds flown on the LDEFThe tomato seeds were flown in orbit aboard the Long Duration Exposure Facility (LDEF) for nearly six years. During this time, the tomato seeds received an abundant exposure to cosmic radiation and solar wind. Upon the return of the LDEF to earth, the seeds were distributed throughout the United States and 30 foreign countries for analysis. The purpose of the experiment was to determine the long term effect of cosmic rays on living tissue. Our university analysis included germination and growth rates as well as Scanning Electron Microscopy and X-ray analysis of the control as well as Space-exposed tomato seeds. In analyzing the seeds under the Electron Microscope, usual observations were performed on the nutritional and epidermis layer of the seed. These layers appeared to be more porous in the Space-exposed seeds than on the Earth-based control seeds. This unusual characteristic may explain the increases in the space seeds growth pattern. (Several test results show that the Space-exposed seeds germinate sooner than the Earth-Based seeds. Also, the Space-exposed seeds grew at a faster rate). The porous nutritional region may allow the seeds to receive necessary nutrients and liquids more readily, thus enabling the plant to grow at a faster rate. Roots, leaves and stems were cut into small sections and mounted. After sputter coating the specimens with Argon/Gold Palladium Plasma, they were ready to be viewed under the Electron Microscope. Many micrographs were taken. The X-ray analysis displayed possible identifications of calcium, potassium, chlorine, copper, aluminum, silicon, phosphate, carbon, and sometimes sulfur and iron. The highest concentrations were shown in potassium and calcium. The Space-exposed specimens displayed a high concentration of copper and calcium in the two specimens. There was a significantly high concentration of copper in the Earth-based specimens, whereas there was no copper in the Space-exposed specimens.
Document ID
Acquisition Source
Legacy CDMS
Document Type
Conference Paper
Hammond, Ernest C., Jr.
(Morgan State Univ. Baltimore, MD, United States)
Bridgers, Kevin
(Morgan State Univ. Baltimore, MD, United States)
Brown, Cecelia Wright
(Morgan State Univ. Baltimore, MD, United States)
Date Acquired
September 6, 2013
Publication Date
February 1, 1995
Publication Information
Publication: NASA. Langley Research Center, LDEF: 69 Months in Space. Third Post-Retrieval Symposium, Part 1
Subject Category
Life Sciences (General)
Accession Number
Distribution Limits
Work of the US Gov. Public Use Permitted.
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