Astrobiology at NASA

Astrobiology is the study of the origin, evolution, distribution, and future of life in the universe. This multidisciplinary field encompasses the search for habitable environments in our Solar System and habitable planets outside our Solar System, the search for evidence of prebiotic chemistry and life on Mars and other bodies in our Solar System, laboratory and field research into the origins and early evolution of life on Earth, and studies of the potential for life to adapt to challenges on Earth and in space.

The official Web site for the NASA Astrobiology Program is intended to provide all interested people – including researchers, government officials, policy makers, teachers, students, and citizens – accurate, up-to-date, and comprehensive information on Program activities, accomplishments, and plans and the institutions, organizations, and people involved in the astrobiology enterprise worldwide.

Plant Biology Special Issue: Plant Biology in Space

Plant Biology is an international journal of broad scope bringing together different subdisciplines, such as physiology, molecular biology, cell biology, development, genetics, systematics, ecology, evolution, ecophysiology, plant-microbe interactions, and mycology.

The Plant Biology Special Issue: Plant Biology in Space (January 2014) focuses on just that! With 25 articles and research papers on the subject, this journal is a valuable resource.

The Journal of Plant Growth Regulation Special Issue on Plants and Gravity, June 2002

The Journal of Plant Growth Regulation is an international journal publishing original articles on all aspects of plant growth and development. The article, Effect of Hydrotropism on Root System Development in Soybean (Glycine max): Growth Experiments and a Model Simulation, by Daizo Tsutsumi, Ken’ichiro Kosugi, and Takahisa Mizuyama, discusses plants and gravity.


To observe root system development, soybean plants (Glycine max) were grown in root boxes that were set horizontally to reduce the effect of gravity. Along with the root system development, the two-dimensional distribution of soil water content in the root boxes was measured continuously by the time domain reflectometry (TDR) method. Root system development and its morphological architecture were strongly affected by the positions of the water supply. It is suggested that root hydrotropism plays the dominant role in root system development. In addition to root hydrotropism, the importance of root compensatory growth is suggested. A combined model of root system development and soil water flow considering root hydrotropism and compensatory growth was used to simulate root system development and soil water flow. The morphological architecture of root systems and the distribution of soil water content obtained in the experiment were successfully explained by the model simulation. These results confirmed that root hydrotropism and compensatory growth are dominant factors in root system development under a reduced effect of gravity. The validity of the model was confirmed, and its applications for various purposes were suggested.