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EPO GREENHOUSE
10/18/2012 by Carina Helle Berg
EPO Greenhouse was an educational payload targeted for execution by ESA Astronaut Paolo Nespoli during ISS Increment 26 and 27. The payload consisted of two separate parts; the first part included a greenhouse housing seeds of Arabidopsis thaliana to be grown for 8-10 weeks until development of second generation seeds, the second part included a greenhouse housing seeds of lettuce to be grown for approximately 15 weeks, until the lettuce was mature.

In parallel to the on-orbit execution of the EPO Greenhouse, students (aged 12-14 years) around Europe were to support their own ground models of the greenhouses in order to compare germination and growth of their plants with the ones grown in microgravity on-board the ISS. The comparison would be possible through pictures and status evaluation of the plants, made by the astronaut once per week and made available to the students via the internet.

The ESA EPO Greenhouse hardware was launched with 41P in late January 2011 from Baikonour. The experiment was performed from February 2011 to March 2011. The experiment started with a temperature measurement and hydration of the Greenhouse containing lettuce seeds. On February 17th, a successful livelink session with Paolo Nespoli from Columbus to different sites around Europe was performed as Mr Nespoli watered the second Greenhouse containing Arabidopsis seeds in front of the camera. Mr Nespoli performed several watering sessions during the following weeks and photo-documented both Greenhouses. Two small Arabidopsis seedlings germinated, but no lettuce. Due to observed growth of Mold in the hardware, ESA decided to end the experiment after only 3 weeks of operation instead of the planned 10 weeks.

EPO.png

Facts
Experiment name: EPO Greenhouse
Facility: Self-standing payload
Test subject: Arabidopsis thaliana and lettuce
Experiment duration: 1 runs x 21 days
Growth substrate:
Water source: Manually hydration
Principle Investigator: Elisabeth Celton
Payload Developer:
Launch vehicle: 41P
Performance: 2011

Point of contact:
Elisabeth Celton, elisabeth.celton@esa.int


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