If humanity is going to push the boundaries of space exploration, we're going to need plants to come along for the ride.
A science experiment aiming to demonstrate plants' capabilities in space has arrived at the International Space Station and is ready to begin relaying data.
The experiment, according to University of Utah chemistry professor and project chief scientist Ming Hammond, will assess in real-time whether plants engineered to bio-manufacture specific proteins, in a process called synthetic biology, can do so in space.
See photos of the team and images of the installed experiment from the space station here.
"There's a lot of promise, potential and hope that we can use the tools developed in synthetic biology to solve problems," Hammond says, "not just that you would find in space, but where you have extreme limitation of resources."
Hammond's involvement in this experiment, called Hydra-1, began at the University of California, Berkeley, before her recent move to the U.