The United Arab Emirates has officially launched its test phase to germinate palm seeds in space. The project, entitled “Palm in Space”, aims to contribute to international food security.
It’s official, palm seeds have arrived on the international space station. Sent by the United Arab Emirates as part of the “Palm in Space” project, they left Earth last Thursday with the Falcon 9 rocket launched by SpaceX from NASA’s base in Cape Canaveral, Florida.
Improve food security
This experience is the first of its kind. It illustrates the United Arab Emirates’ willingness to participate in the joint research effort to improve international food security. In concrete terms, the objective is to understand more about agriculture in space. The project is a collaboration between the Emirates Space Agency, the United Arab Emirates University College of Food and Agriculture (UEAU), and NanoRacks, a private company that develops products and services for the commercial use of space.
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A similar experiment will be conducted in parallel at UEAU’s College of Food and Agriculture, to allow scientists to compare and analyze the differences in growth between seeds exposed to the two environments.
“Culture and heritage”
Dr Khalid Al Hashimi, Director of Space Missions, Science and Technology at the Emirate Space Agency, said: “We chose to send palm seeds to the International Space Station because of their importance to the culture and heritage of the United Arab Emirates, as well as the fact that they are able to withstand the most difficult conditions and are often planted under conditions that are similar to those of the Martian environment.
These palm seeds precede Hazza Al Mansouri’s trip to the international space station, scheduled for September 25, which will make him the first Emirate in space.