Space station experiments prove that gravity is not a key factor in determining plant growth patterns

Editor's note: Many people understand the phototropism, water tendency, and root geotropism of plants at a very young age. Scientists experiment with Arabidopsis thaliana, which for plant biologists is a positioning plant. The controlled group germinated and grew at the Kennedy Space Center (A), while the control group was on the International Space Station (B). Even the results of their research were surprising to them: the plants in space exhibit the same growth pattern as the earth. It confirms that gravity is not a key factor in determining the growth pattern of plants. In fact, the appearance of these patterns does not seem to require the participation of gravity. Scientists are now looking at other influences, such as moisture, nutrition, and avoiding light, in order to explain the unexpected growth of roots.

According to a report on December 17, Beijing time, according to the "Exploration" magazine report, after a seed is buried in the soil, its roots will grow downwards in order to find water and nutrients. But what happens if there is no "underside" for root growth? Scientists took the seeds to the International Space Station and were very surprised to see the situation when there was no gravity to guide the plant's roots to grow downward.

Scientists experiment with Arabidopsis thaliana, which for plant biologists is a positioning plant. The controlled group germinated and grew at the Kennedy Space Center (A), while the control group was on the International Space Station (B). During the 15-day period, the researchers took pictures of them every 6 hours and compared them. Even the results of their research were surprising to them: the plants in space exhibit the same growth pattern as the earth. The researchers hope to see two special modes of root growth: wavy growth and oblique movement. The wave pattern refers to the root tip growing back and forth, much like a wave. When the plant's roots are inclined, instead of growing vertically downward, an oblique shift occurs. Scientists are not sure why this happens to plant roots, but they believe that gravity is clearly the driving force behind the formation of the two modes.

This experiment subverted the widely accepted theory based on gravity. Although the plants in the orbit grow slower than the controlled group on the earth, both groups exhibited an oblique shift pattern. The plants on the International Space Station also show a wave pattern, but it is not obvious. These research results were published last week in the "British Medical Council Plant Biology" magazine. It confirms that gravity is not a key factor in determining the growth pattern of plants. In fact, the appearance of these patterns does not seem to require the participation of gravity. Scientists are now looking at other influences, such as moisture, nutrition, and avoiding light, in order to explain the unexpected growth of roots.

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