Indonesia sends tomato seeds into outer space

The Jakarta Post reports the Indonesian National Aeronautics and Space Agency (LAPAN) will send tomato seeds into outer space to find out if they can grow without gravity to increase the interest of the public in space studies. The seeds will be placed in a capsule that will be flown to the International Space Station by the Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA). LAPAN program coordinator Ratig Dewanti was quoted as saying that several Asian countries — Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, South Korea, India and Vietnam — are participating in the mission. They all sent plant seeds from their respective countries, Ratig added.

The experiment is part of the multilateral cooperation programs among members of the Asia Pacific Regional Space Agency (APRSAF). It aims to raise the interest of the general public, especially the youth, in outer space studies. The 500-800 tomato seeds are donations from the School of Science and Technology at the Bandung Institute of Technology.

“The seeds from Lembang have been dried and sterilised and kept in a special plastic bag provided by JAXA,” said Fenny Dwianti from the institute.