August 07, 2011

Tobacco seeds on space shuttle

Back to the Stars

By Laura Waterman WittstockThe NASA space shuttle Atlantis landed on July 21, ending a 30-year program of space exploration and experimentation. One massive payload it carried was called the “Raffaello Multi-purpose Logistics Module,” a container filled with five tons of supplies and spare parts for the space station (ISS). Now dubbed Leonardo, the module will stay at the space station for the duration of its useful life. Its large size will provide much needed space for the astronauts who visit the station in the future.

That is the big component of the flight. But also nestled in the payload was a very tiny experiment: American Indian tobacco seeds in a microgravity environment. This was the first and only plant experiment involving native seeds cultivated only by American Indians from the Western Hemisphere using native agricultural science over millennia.
Comment:  For more on the subject, see Native Foods Changed the World and Egyptian Mummies with Tobacco and Cocaine.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Sez Marvin the Martian, "This tastes terrible. I want more!"