CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla., May 29, 2002 In the first space experiment of its kind, DuPont tomorrow will begin space exploration designed to discover new scientific research about one of the most consumed crops in the world today soybeans.
Continuing its extensive history with NASA, DuPont has partnered with the Wisconsin Center for Space Automation and Robotics (WCSAR) -- a NASA Commercial Space Center at the University of Wisconsin-Madison -- to conduct an unprecedented exploration of soybean development by launching and growing soybean plants in space during NASAs space shuttle flight scheduled for takeoff Thursday, May 30.
The research will determine whether plants grow differently in space and examine the effects of zero-gravity on plant growth and development. The soybeans-in-space launch is the first initiative to grow a complete soybean crop in space -- from planting the seed to harvesting the grain. DuPont subsidiary, Pioneer Hi-Bred International, Inc., and WCSAR will study the harvested seed from soybean plants grown in space to find out if they have improved oil, protein, carbohydrates or secondary metabolites that could benefit farmers and consumers. According to the United Soybean Board, soybeans are the largest single source of protein meal and vegetable oil in the human diet. Domestically, soybeans provide 80 percent of the edible consumption of fats and oils in the United States. In 2000, 54 percent of the worlds soybean trade originated from the United States with soybean and product exports totaling more than $6.6 billion. The worlds largest seed company, Pioneer, is the brand leader in soybeans with more than 100 product varieties on the market.
As part of the initiative, scientists will plant Pioneer-brand soybean seeds in a specialized tray within a growth chamber developed by WCSAR. The chamber will be delivered to the International Space Station (ISS) from the space shuttle flight. Duri
Contact: Anthony Farina