SIUE sending plants to space for research project

EDWARDSVILLE, Ill. (AP) — A research project conducted by members of a university in southwestern Illinois will be on board an upcoming NASA rocket launch. Southern Illinois University Edwardsville has teamed up with Ohio University on a project focusing on how plants sense gravity and respond to growing without it. Researchers from the two schools will observe the plants’ response by examining which proteins they produce in space, compared to control plants grown on Earth. Darron Luesse, associate professor of biological science, says it’s the first analysis of its kind. He says the team hopes the experiment will provide answers as to how healthier plants can be grown in space. The Belleville News-Democrat about 18,000 plant seeds will be aboard the SpaceX Dragon rocket. It’s set to launch on Jan. 6.