Ground-based experiments on AHiS Mission-1

Instructions from the Japanese Space Agency JAXA

The ‘Plant Chamber’ on Earth

We could not send every student in the Asia Pacific region who participated in the mission a growth chamber for the plants, so JAXA encourages everyone to come up with their own solutions. 


In New Zealand, we recommend using a mini green house

We suggest you use a Saxon Mini green house for your propagation chamber, we found these to be solid and resilient. They are about $8.98 from Bunnings.

Or create your own plant growth chamber, using transparent containers or bottles.

You can get the small rock wool cubes – 25x25x40mm (100 cubes) for about $12.50 from Wintergardenz but other places would have them.

The seeds on the ISS have been grown in rock wool as well because it has good water retention and functions as a medium for plants instead of soil.


If you cannot find rock wool, then you can use other mediums to replace it.

For example, you can use a sponge. These can be shaped freely according to the size of the plant box. In addition, the sponge has good water retention.

If you don’t have a sponge, you can just use soil.

Make your own

  1. Clean the inside of the container of bottled water.
  2. Mark a line at the height of 11 cm from the bottom.
  3. Cut the bottle with a knife or scissors.
  4. Cut out the sponge with a height of about 3 cm fit to the size of the container.
  5. Put a medium (sponge) into the plant box.
  6. Make some holes (example, 8 red-marked holes) in the wall of the container of bottled water with a needle. These holes are for ventilation.
  7. Set the sweet basil seeds in the medium.
  8. Supply fertilizer water to the medium.
  9. Cover with plastic wrap as a lid.
  10. Make some holes (example, 4 red-marked holes) on plastic wrap with a needle. These holes are also for ventilation.
  11. Start cultivation in a bright place.
  12. When the plant box gets lighter, give additional fertilizer water.
  13. Also, carefully observe the condition of the sweet basil plants.

How to sow your seeds

Sweet basil seeds are photophilic seeds that cannot germinate without light, so they cannot germinate if they are sown too deeply. Please sow the seeds so that they are located almost on the surface of the medium.


Questions for your class

Germination is the growth of a plant contained within a seed until it becomes a seedling.

The switch between seed dormancy and germination must happen at a time when the seed has the best chances of surviving. There are important cues that begins the process of seed germination and overall plant growth is light. Think about what does a plant need to germinate? 

How many types of germination exists and which one is occurring for basil?



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