Today (July 11), Virgin Galactic’s Unity spacecraft will conduct a three-tube plant experiment with company founder Richard Branson and his crew.
NASA-supported experiments will blow up flowering plants related to cabbage and mustard, called Arabidopsis. It is an organism commonly used in space science, not only flying in orbit, but also flying to the moon.
For Virgin Galactic, this mini experiment will be an important test of the ability of human passengers to conduct scientific experiments in a 90-minute flight. The experiment will be operated by Sirisha Bandla, Virgin Galactic’s vice president of government affairs and research operations and one of the flight crew members.
You can watch the launch of Virgin Galactic in real time here, on the homepage, and directly from the spaceflight company’s website and YouTube page.
Related: How to watch Virgin Galactic launch Richard Branson into space
More: Knowledge about Virgin Galactic launch 22
Kennedy Space Center fixed tube
NASA-supported experiment will fly manned in Unit 22 During this period, three fixed tubes of Arabidopsis plants were blown up into space. (Image source: University of Florida)
“Bandla will activate three tubes full of plants to release preservatives during the critical phase of flight data collection: [Earth Gravity Level] before the rocket is boosted, just before entering microgravity and The conclusion of microgravity afterwards.” NASA said in a statement on Friday (July 9), describing the experiment at the University of Florida, which was designed by co-investigators Robert Fair and Anna Lisa Paul .
The experiment will release a preservative to “capture plant biochemistry at specific points during the microgravity transition,” NASA added. “Joint researchers from the University of Florida will perform gene expression analysis in plants. Flight.
Ferl and Paul are veterans in the field of space plants. They began to conduct space shuttle experiments in orbit in the late 1990s, and then they obtained results from these short space flights, which usually lasted a week or two, according to the 2019 NASA News Draft, designed nine experiments for the International Space Station.
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“What we learned from these early experiments was certain concepts of how plants adapt to space. Then we combined it with them The behavior on the ground was compared,” he said. “It’s huge, but it doesn’t tell us what happens during the transition,” Ferl added, referring to when you fly from Earth’s gravity to microgravity and then The changes that occurred when I returned.
Ferl and Paul tested the adaptability of plants during 30 seconds of microgravity during a parabolic flight, indicating that plants tend to adapt very quickly to new environments. Paul said in the same press release: “We can use fluorescence imaging to study different types of molecular signaling and see which genes are off, which genes are on, and when it occurs, so we can get a glimpse of this transition.”
They were also involved in several suborbital flights, including Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo in December 2018, and the launch of Blue Origin’s New Shepard in January 2019 and December 2019. These experiments are automatically triggered during these opportunities, rather than allowing human astronauts to perform the job.
“Our first suborbital data on how genes respond tells us that calcium signals during gravitational transitions work in unexpected ways,” Paul said. “Of course this is very exciting because it means there is a lot to learn.”

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