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Thread: Post-International Space Station?

  1. #121
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    Quote Originally Posted by Van Rijn View Post

    ...So I have to wonder: Why send them to space? Radiation sources have been used since the Ď50s to do the same thing on Earth, and radiation isnít all that intense in LEO (though presumably they make a point of minimizing radiation protection unlike on the ISS or a crewed spacecraft). I suppose seeds are low mass and donít take much space so transport costs are reduced but I suspect it is still more expensive than the earthbound technique.
    Interesting. If what you suspect is true that rather blows a big hole in the Nanoracks business model.

    This is what the Nanoracks website says in the Starlab Q&A section of its website:

    ...Abby: So, space can really help accelerate new Earthly AgTech products?

    Jeffrey: Thirty years of research has produced tantalizing evidence that the environment of space, while very strange and harsh, can produce AgTech products that are hardier than those on Earth, or grow seedlings more quickly than on Earth. It seems that the mix of radiation present in outer space and the microgravity environment, combine to yield unique biomass products.

    More recently, scientists have also concluded that the stress factors in microgravity help us better understand how plant microbiomes work, leading to improved yields on the Earth.

    Much of the technology used for vertical, urban and closed environment agriculture initially came from space research from 30 years ago, and Nanoracks is excited to synergize these technologies back with in-space exploration...
    So its the mix of microgravity and radiation which delivers the benefit, apparently....

  2. #122
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    Quote Originally Posted by DavidLondon View Post
    Interesting. If what you suspect is true that rather blows a big hole in the Nanoracks business model.
    I thought about it and frankly, I now suspect marketing is the key advantage. Improved plants using the “natural” space environment are probably easier to market than induced mutations in plants from an artificial radiation source, though the effect is the same: Mutations are induced more rapidly than in the plant’s natural Earth environment and while most mutations will be detrimental or useless, sometimes they induce genetic changes useful for farming. In truth, modern genetic modification could do a lot in a more controlled fashion, but with all the nonsense going around about GMOs that’s not used like it should be.

    It helps that most seeds are light and don’t take up much room, so that keeps launch costs down.

    This is what the Nanoracks website says in the Starlab Q&A section of its website:

    So its the mix of microgravity and radiation which delivers the benefit, apparently....
    I’m doubtful microgravity is relevant to genetic modification. Currently, plants are rarely grown in space, it’s only done with some experiments and is quite a procedure for one or a few plant(s). So it can be useful in studying plants in that environment but that doesn’t create altered crops.

    I expect they leave seeds in containers with minimal radiation shielding (not kept inside the ISS, for example) and the seeds are more or less dormant (little or no active metabolism).

    Here’s a page on inducing mutations and how it is used in modern agriculture. An excerpt:

    Physical mutagens, mostly ionizing radiation, can increase the natural mutation rate by 1,000 to 1 million fold, and have been widely used to induce heritable genetic changes. More than 70 per cent of induced and released mutant crop varieties have been developed using physical mutagens. Since the 1960s, gamma rays have become the most commonly used mutagenic agent in plant mutation breeding.

    Seeds or other plant propagules (such as pollen, spores or stem cuttings) are typically treated for seconds or minutes with a cobalt-60 source, or are irradiated in X-ray machines.


    From

    https://www.iaea.org/topics/mutation-induction
    Last edited by Van Rijn; 2021-Sep-11 at 10:20 AM.

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  3. #123
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    Quote Originally Posted by Van Rijn View Post
    I thought about it and frankly, I now suspect marketing is the key advantage. Improved plants using the “natural” space environment are probably easier to market than induced mutations in plants from an artificial radiation source, though the effect is the same: Mutations are induced more rapidly than in the plant’s natural Earth environment and while most mutations will be detrimental or useless, sometimes they induce genetic changes useful for farming. In truth, modern genetic modification could do a lot in a more controlled fashion, but with all the nonsense going around about GMOs that’s not used like it should be.

    It helps that most seeds are light and don’t take up much room, so that keeps launch costs down.



    I’m doubtful microgravity is relevant to genetic modification. Currently, plants are rarely grown in space, it’s only done with some experiments and is quite a procedure for one or a few plant(s). So it can be useful in studying plants in that environment but that doesn’t create altered crops.

    I expect they leave seeds in containers with minimal radiation shielding (not kept inside the ISS, for example) and the seeds are more or less dormant (little or no active metabolism).

    Here’s a page on inducing mutations and how it is used in modern agriculture. An excerpt:

    Physical mutagens, mostly ionizing radiation, can increase the natural mutation rate by 1,000 to 1 million fold, and have been widely used to induce heritable genetic changes. More than 70 per cent of induced and released mutant crop varieties have been developed using physical mutagens. Since the 1960s, gamma rays have become the most commonly used mutagenic agent in plant mutation breeding.

    Seeds or other plant propagules (such as pollen, spores or stem cuttings) are typically treated for seconds or minutes with a cobalt-60 source, or are irradiated in X-ray machines.


    From

    https://www.iaea.org/topics/mutation-induction
    China have done a lot of research in that year. The Chang'e-5 mission trip to the moon carried rice grains. On their return to earth, have been planted and harvested. It will take a few cycles before their success can be established.

    https://www.globaltimes.cn/page/202107/1228365.shtml

    "It will take a few more generations and go through a series of tests, comparisons and regional trials before passing provincial- and state-level reviews," Xu Lei, a rice breeding expert based in one of China's major rice production fields of Panjin, Northeast China's Liaoning Province, told the Global Times on Sunday.

    He noted that only high-yielding, high-quality varieties that prove to be resistant to diseases would be officially recognized as stable varieties that could be promoted nationwide.
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  4. #124
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    Quote Originally Posted by selvaarchi View Post
    China have done a lot of research in that year. The Chang'e-5 mission trip to the moon carried rice grains. On their return to earth, have been planted and harvested. It will take a few cycles before their success can be established.

    https://www.globaltimes.cn/page/202107/1228365.shtml
    Well, again, you can do the same thing on Earth with a radiation source. This is fundamentally a stunt, done for publicity value. It is hardly practical to send seeds to the moon on a regular basis. For that matter, I’m skeptical that the DNA in many rice seeds would be mutated by the natural space radiation environment in the fairly short time in flight of the Chang'e-5 mission.

    Incidentally, Apollo had a somewhat similar stunt sending tree seeds to the Moon. For instance, I’ve seen the moon tree redwood in the California state capital park.

    https://www.nasa.gov/centers/marshal...s-to-moon.html.

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  5. #125
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    Quote Originally Posted by Van Rijn View Post
    Well, again, you can do the same thing on Earth with a radiation source. This is fundamentally a stunt, done for publicity value. It is hardly practical to send seeds to the moon on a regular basis. For that matter, I’m skeptical that the DNA in many rice seeds would be mutated by the natural space radiation environment in the fairly short time in flight of the Chang'e-5 mission.

    Incidentally, Apollo had a somewhat similar stunt sending tree seeds to the Moon. For instance, I’ve seen the moon tree redwood in the California state capital park.

    https://www.nasa.gov/centers/marshal...s-to-moon.html.
    China's experience goes back to Aug 5, 1987, when China launched its first seed samples into space. Since then hundreds of varieties of space crops have been planted nationwide.

    http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/a/20201...ba93d27_1.html

    Now, modern technologies have produced quality seeds from an equally fantastic source-outer space.

    These seeds have produced a range of crops, from tomato vines that can sprawl across 150 square meters of land and bear 10,000 fruits, to giant black-eyed pea sprouts measuring nearly a meter long, according to the China Aerospace Science and Technology Corp, or CASTC.

    This progress has been achieved through space-induced mutation breeding, also known as space mutagenesis.
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  6. #126
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    Quote Originally Posted by selvaarchi View Post
    China's experience goes back to Aug 5, 1987, when China launched its first seed samples into space. Since then hundreds of varieties of space crops have been planted nationwide.

    http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/a/20201...ba93d27_1.html
    And? It doesn’t change the fact you can do the same thing on Earth with a radiation source (which China certainly has access to). Various countries have been using radiation to induce mutations in crops for 70 years or so. See the link in my previous post on the subject.

    "The problem with quotes on the Internet is that it is hard to verify their authenticity." ó Abraham Lincoln

    I say there is an invisible elf in my backyard. How do you prove that I am wrong?

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  7. #127
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    "NASA urged to avoid space station gap"

    https://spacenews.com/nasa-urged-to-...e-station-gap/

    NASA needs to ensure that commercial space stations are ready before the International Space Station is retired to avoid a “space station gap” with geopolitical consequences, industry officials and other advisers warn.

    NASA’s low Earth orbit commercialization strategy calls for the development of one or more commercial space stations by late this decade, allowing NASA to transition research currently done on the ISS to those facilities and then retire the ISS, likely around 2030. NASA is currently evaluating an estimated 10 to 12 proposals submitted by companies seeking one of several Commercial LEO Development (CLD) contracts for initial studies of commercial stations.

    That transition “will allow NASA to shift significant financial and personnel resources towards exploration objectives,” said Robyn Gatens, director of the ISS program at NASA Headquarters, at a Sept. 21 hearing of the House space subcommittee on the topic. That includes a roughly two-year transition period where NASA will shift activities from the ISS to those commercial stations.
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