Bion - M1

US and Japanese scientists and educators placed seeds aboard the Russian Bion-M1 space mission in order to study the radiation effects that spaceflight has on the seeds. This type of plant growth research partnership also occurs between the US, Russia and Japan today on the International Space Station (ISS). On the ISS, long term experiments test the effects of low gravity and space radiation on plant growth and space seed germination rate.

The Bion missions launch in a pressurized satellite similar to the Russian Soyuz capsule and orbit the Earth for extended periods. When the capsule returns to Earth, the experiments are collected for analysis. The seeds for this experiment series flew on the Bion-M1 mission in April 2013. For this project, students will be comparing the growth of seeds exposed to space radiation to seeds that were not exposed. The project may continue for up to 3 years Using upcoming Bion missions.

Students and teachers received seeds that were flown on Bion-M1 and seeds of the same variety that were not flown in space. Students develop different experiments to test seed germination and growth under a variety of controlled conditions. They record the results, post them on the Web, and send a report or data to the Space Dynamics Laboratory. Throughout the project, students receive updates from the latest Bion missions.


October 2013

February 2014



Okayama, Japan Research Institute for Bioresources, Okayama University
Kasaoka City, Okayama Prefecture Oshima Junior High School
Kasaoka City, Okayama Prefecture Chuou Elementary School
Asakuchi City, Okayama Prefecture Yorishima Elementary School

United States

Waipahu, Hawaii August Ahrens Elementary School
Honolulu, Hawaii Hawaii Baptist Academy
Honolulu, Hawaii Honpa Hongwanji Mission School
Kahului, Maui, Hawaii Lihikai Elementary School
Honolulu, Hawaii Punahou School
Ephraim, Utah Ephraim Middle School
Gunnison, Utah Gunnison Valley Middle School
Logan, Utah Mount Logan Middle School
Moroni, Utah North Sanpete Middle School
Wendover, Nevada West Wendover Junior High

Bion-M1 Launch April 19, 2013 | Photo Credit: TsENKI