Tomatoes in Spaaaaace: The Tomatosphere Project

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The fate of the earth hangs in the balance! Between global warming, pollution, and Mayan prophesies, it seems that we’ll all need to vacate the planet or get swallowed up by the second coming sooner than we thought. But don’t worry: The Canadians have a plan! It’s Tomatosphere to the rescue!

Tomatosphere is a research project conducted by the Canadian Space Agency with the help of “tomatonauts” (school children, grades two through nine) stationed all over the U.S. and Canada. The latest development of the mission, Tomatosphere II, involved sending tomato seeds (1.5 million plum tomato seeds of the Heinz variety, to be precise) to the International Space Station in June in order to see how the seeds respond to weightlessness and extra-terrestrial radiation, with an eye towards future missions to Mars.

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Tomatonauts hard at work. Photo via tomatosphere.org

These seeds will be distributed to the tomatonauts later in the year, and they'll be measuring their tomato plants' growth in a "blind test" in which the treatment of the seeds won't be known until their findings are sent back to Tomatosphere headquarters. This way, scientists will know how to grow plants when we all have to run off to our space arks in order to escape a dying planet.

All of this sounds well and good… but did Attack of the Killer Tomatoes teach us nothing? 

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Tomatoes aboard the ISS. Photo via spaceflight.nasa.gov

French-Language Tomatosphere Video

Justine Sterling

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One Comment

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  1. Jamie P

    But do they get to eat the space tomatoes?

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