Can plants photosynthesise in space?

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Max

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Can plants photosynthesise in space?
« on: 29/07/2008 08:34:17 »
Max asked the Naked Scientists:

Well, after watching a movie called Mission on Mars, i wanted to know if plants will give oxygen while in space shuttle or just in space.

What do you think?

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Offline chris

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Can plants photosynthesise in space?
« Reply #1 on: 31/07/2008 09:29:47 »
Hi Max

In order to photosynthesise plants need 3 things: sunlight, carbon dioxide and water. Their green pigment captures the energy in the sunlight and uses it to drive a chemical reaction linking the carbon dioxide and water together to produce glucose (sugar).

Therefore a plant can photosynthesise in space so long as those three critical ingredients are present and the other conditions - temperature, pressure and so on, are satisfactory. Plants can and have been grown aboard the shuttle and the International Space Station.

But a plant exposed to the void of space would die very fast. It's either very hot - in the sun - or very cold (in the shade) and the pressure is a near-vacuum (there's about 1 atom floating about in every cubic metre of space).

Chris
I never forget a face, but in your case I'll make an exception - Groucho Marx

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Offline that mad man

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Can plants photosynthesise in space?
« Reply #2 on: 31/07/2008 16:03:36 »
Hi Max.

Last night I was watching the DVD of "Silent Running" which is a classic old film and part of the storyline is about a similar thing. Geodesic domes in space that hold plants and trees.

I would recommend watching it even if only once.

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Offline opus

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Can plants photosynthesise in space?
« Reply #3 on: 01/08/2008 13:25:05 »
I love that film- so sad at the end though...

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Offline that mad man

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Can plants photosynthesise in space?
« Reply #4 on: 01/08/2008 16:48:13 »
I love that film- so sad at the end though...

I bought it just a few day ago for 2.99 from the local supermarket, as we cant advertise it has summer and a field in its title. [;)]

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Offline opus

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Can plants photosynthesise in space?
« Reply #5 on: 01/08/2008 18:24:04 »
Oh Tesco!