Preparation of a Spaceflight Experiment to Study Tropisms in Arabidopsis Seedlings on the International Space Station
Utilization of orbiting spacecraft allows for studying biological processes in conditions of microgravity. Centrifuges on board these platforms also allow for the creation of partial gravity vectors (to simulate the Moon or Mars levels of gravity) as well as onboard 1-g controls for the space experiments. Thus, the mechanisms of gravity and light perception in plants can be analyzed in a unique environment which can give insights into fundamental processes in biology. Here, we describe the methods for preparation of a plant biology experiment with seedlings of Arabidopsis thaliana utilizing the European Modular Cultivation System (EMCS) on the International Space Station (ISS). The procedures outlined in this paper have been successfully used in several of our recent spaceflight experiments, which have given unique insights into the basic mechanisms of tropisms.