September 17, 2021 at 9:32 am

Science Cafe | Plants in Space: Athens, We Have a Problem, Oct. 14

From left, Alexander Meyers, Sarah Wyatt and Eric Land.

From left, Alexander Meyers, Sarah Wyatt and Eric Land.

Ohio University’s Science Café kicks off the fall season with a researcher’s worst nightmare. There’s trouble 250 miles above Earth. When your “astronauts” are tiny seedlings, things can go wrong on the International Space Station. 

Dr. Sarah Wyatt returns to the café stage at 5 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 14, at the Baker Center Theater to talk about conducting experiments in space and getting results not possible here on Earth. The event also will be livestreamed on YouTube.

“It’s Friday afternoon, and our plantstronauts are supposed to be on their way home, but the phone rings. It’s NASA. Some of the seedlings didn’t make it back onto the Space-X Dragon Capsule for the ride home. And they are dead. So now what?” says Wyatt, professor of Environmental & Plant Biology and director of Molecular & Cellular Biology.

Running experiments on the ISS, orbiting Earth as 5 miles per second, is not easy. But learning how plants respond to gravity and grow in space is essential for future trips to Mars and colonization of the Moon. The Wyatt Lab experiments are the first to explore what happens when tiny plants gear up their RNA machines to start building shoots and stems—and figuring out which way is “up.”  

Science Cafe logo, with coffee cup

 Join the Wyatt Lab on their missions to “fly” plants in space and see what they’ve learned about growing plants for long duration space exploration, where they can be used for food, medicine and more. Free coffee will be provided for the first 50 people.

  • Watch on YouTube (links will be posted)
  • Watch on Facebook

The series is supported by the Ohio University Research Division and Ohio University Chapter of Sigma Xi. For more information visit the Science Cafe website.

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