How long can a plant last in a vacuum?

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Natalie Waddell-Rutter

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How long can a plant last in a vacuum?
« on: 19/01/2009 10:10:15 »
Natalie Waddell-Rutter  asked the Naked Scientists:
After rewatching the movie Wall-E, I was wondering about the long scene with the plant in space.  How long can a plant last in a vacuum? How exactly does vacuum kill a plant versus an animal?  Thanks!

Natalie from Pennsylvania, United States

What do you think?


Offline chris

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How long can a plant last in a vacuum?
« Reply #1 on: 19/01/2009 19:47:10 »
I would think not very long because the low pressure will cause liquid in the plant to boil away, dessicating the plant. This will occur because the leaves are peppered with tiny holes called stomata which the plant uses to exchange gases - CO2 and O2. The insides of he leaf surfaces are kept damp to facilitate absorption of CO2 for photosynthesis, so water loss from the plant will be fairly easy.

Whether, however, the plant would be resuscitatable after vacuum exposure (of whatever duration) I don't know.

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