Tobacco seeds from the Science Museum of Minnesota are aboard the Space Shuttle Atlantis and will be studied at the museum by students and teachers when the seeds are returned after the shuttle lands later this week.
The seeds are from the Science Museum’s ethnobotany collection and are used in the study of how people of a particular culture and region make use of indigenous plants. Also in the Science Museum collection are indigenously cultivated corn, beans and squash from the American Indian culture.
Students and staff at the museum will conduct control experiments to see whether the seeds germinated in space and how they might have developed.
Jim Rock, Dakota educator and longtime Science Museum collaborator, and Scott Shoemaker, Science Museum ethnobotonist, will work on the project with interns from the American Indian Opportunities Industrialization Center (AIOIC) Career Immersion High School, the Science Museum said.