Космический эксперимент «Ряска»Alexander Ovchinin:
Dear visitors to the Korolev Planet web site,
I’m Alexei Ovchinin, flight engineer of Expedition Fifty Nine to the International Space Station, and today I’m going to tell you about an educational scientific experiment Duckweed, in support of which a Local Illumination System payload has been recently delivered to the ISS.
This experiment is intended to demonstrate to students some peculiarities in the development of the duckweed plant in zero-gravity environment. This plant was chosen for the experiment because it requires little maintenance and grows fast, and one can obtain the necessary amount of data over a short period of time. It is a known fact that on Earth the plants orient themselves in the only possible way: Leaves towards the source of light, roots, under the influence of gravity, towards Earth.

In the spaceflight environment, one of these guiding factors, gravity, is missing, and it would be interesting to observe how plants will be developing without this orientation cue. This experiment is conducted both on board, by cosmonauts, and on the ground, by schoolchildren taking part in the competition Experiment in Space.
Specialists from the Institute of Biomedical Problems provided to the children the same kind of duckweed as the one that was placed in the flight equipment. The principal investigator in this experiment is Rocket and Space Corporation Energia. And now we are going to move from the service module to MRM-1, where I installed the equipment for the Duckweed experiment.
You can see the scientific equipment developed by the schentific production company BioTechSys for the Duckweed experiment. It is a transparent container, consisting of three compartments. Each compartment is filled with nutrient solution and air in different ratios: one has 3 parts of liquid to one part of air, the second has the same amount of air and liquid, and the third has 3 parts of air to one part of liquid, and each compartment contains about 10 to 12 specimens of the duckweed plant. The lighting conditions are provided by an LED panel included in the equipment.
An important feature of the experiment is a one-time shaking of the container with the air-water mixture on the first day and absolute rest from then on to the end of the experiment. The shaking is needed to disorient the plants in the container, and the state of rest is needed to observe changes in the state of the plants. It is expected that the roots will turn towards water, and the blades of the leaves towards air and light. After shaking, the container was put on a support stand which makes it easier to observe and photograph it. Each of the vessels settled into a different state: in the first vessel there is a large bubble of air in the middle, in the second vessel the bubble is smaller, and in the third vessel the bubble is quite small and there are lots of smaller bubbles.

Космический эксперимент «Ряска...
Космический эксперимент «Ряска»

 

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