Life 2014, 4(2), 189-204; doi:10.3390/life4020189
Communication

Effects of the Extraterrestrial Environment on Plants: Recommendations for Future Space Experiments for the MELiSSA Higher Plant Compartment

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Received: 17 February 2014; in revised form: 3 April 2014 / Accepted: 28 April 2014 / Published: 5 May 2014
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Response of Terrestrial Life to Space Conditions)
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Abstract: Due to logistical challenges, long-term human space exploration missions require a life support system capable of regenerating all the essentials for survival. Higher plants can be utilized to provide a continuous supply of fresh food, atmosphere revitalization, and clean water for humans. Plants can adapt to extreme environments on Earth, and model plants have been shown to grow and develop through a full life cycle in microgravity. However, more knowledge about the long term effects of the extraterrestrial environment on plant growth and development is necessary. The European Space Agency (ESA) has developed the Micro-Ecological Life Support System Alternative (MELiSSA) program to develop a closed regenerative life support system, based on micro-organisms and higher plant processes, with continuous recycling of resources. In this context, a literature review to analyze the impact of the space environments on higher plants, with focus on gravity levels, magnetic fields and radiation, has been performed. This communication presents a roadmap giving directions for future scientific activities within space plant cultivation. The roadmap aims to identify the research activities required before higher plants can be included in regenerative life support systems in space.
Keywords: microgravity; magnetic field; radiation; roadmap; MELiSSA; plants; Moon; Mars
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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MDPI and ACS Style

Wolff, S.A.; Coelho, L.H.; Karoliussen, I.; Jost, A.-I.K. Effects of the Extraterrestrial Environment on Plants: Recommendations for Future Space Experiments for the MELiSSA Higher Plant Compartment. Life 2014, 4, 189-204.

AMA Style

Wolff SA, Coelho LH, Karoliussen I, Jost A-IK. Effects of the Extraterrestrial Environment on Plants: Recommendations for Future Space Experiments for the MELiSSA Higher Plant Compartment. Life. 2014; 4(2):189-204.

Chicago/Turabian Style

Wolff, Silje A.; Coelho, Liz H.; Karoliussen, Irene; Jost, Ann-Iren K. 2014. "Effects of the Extraterrestrial Environment on Plants: Recommendations for Future Space Experiments for the MELiSSA Higher Plant Compartment." Life 4, no. 2: 189-204.

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