Palm seeds launched into space by the UAE as part of an experiment have reached the International Space Station (ISS) via a rocket launched by SpaceX from Cape Canaveral on Thursday, according to media reports.
The experiment to try germinate the seeds in space is being conducted by the UAE Space Agency, NanoRacks and United Arab Emirates University’s College of Food and Agriculture. It seeks to examine a plant’s ability to germinate and adapt to zero gravity conditions.
A parallel experiment will be conducted within the college’s laboratories to help scientists study and compare the differences in growth between the ground-based seeds and those in space. The seeds sent to the space station will eventually return to be planted on earth.
“We are very proud to announce the safe arrival of the unique ‘Palm in Space’ experiment to the International Space Station,” said Dr Khalid Al Hashimi, the UAE Space Agency’s director of space missions, science and technology.
“We chose to send palm tree seeds to the International Space Station because of their importance to the UAE’s culture and heritage, as well as the fact that they are both able to withstand the harshest of conditions and are often planted in circumstances that resemble aspects of the Martian environment,” Hashimi added.
NanoRocks will oversee the data recording, launch and operation of the experiment.