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Calling all Space Farmers!


Open Enrollment for Growing Beyond Earth at Hutchings Museum Institute


The Project:

Growing Beyond Earth (GBE) is a citizen science project designed to advance NASA research on growing plants in space. Hutchings Museum Institute’s GBE Research Team will conduct a second 49-day trial testing varieties of herbs in a specially-designed growing chamber – much like the plant growing system aboard the International Space Station (ISS). This project is a hands-on opportunity for students to learn research protocols, evaluate results, share conclusions, and work as a team – all while contributing to NASA science to determine which plants humans will grow on the International Space Station, the Moon, and even Mars!


Who can participate:

Middle and high school aged students (11 – 18 years old) are invited to join the research team.


Project Schedule:

This seven-week research project starts Mid-February 2023 and goes through the beginning of April 2023, followed by additional opportunities with NASA, including presenting research at the GROWING BEYOND EARTH® Student Research Symposium at the end of April.


Meeting Schedule:

  • Initial Meeting (mid-February 2023, date TBD)

There will be a mandatory first session which will cover student researcher orientation, program overview, training provided by NASA, and the planting of our herb seeds to get started in our growing chamber!

  • Open Lab Schedule (Monday through Friday: 4:00 pm – 5:00 pm)

For more flexibility, we will use an open lab schedule for the seven-week trial.  Student researchers are encouraged to attend the lab twice a week. Lab assistance will be available for that hour. Tasks, data recording, and other responsibilities will assigned in the lab notebook, and reported to NASA weekly.  There will be plenty to do for everyone!

  • Final Harvest Celebration (Early April 2023, date TBD)

We’ll get to enjoy the fruits of our labor on the final day of the trial – but only after the plants have been weighed, measured and evaluated!  We will also submit our findings to NASA and prepare a short presentation of our research for the April 29th GBE Student Research Symposium – prizes will be awarded!



Free, registration is mandatory


SIGN UP TO PARTICIPATE and help NASA advance research on growing plants in space:

Don’t see the registration form?

Click here to view it.

More About Growing Beyond Earth®

Growing Beyond Earth® is a citizen science project operated in partnership with NASA, designed to advance NASA research on growing plants in space. Similar to how plants are grown in the Veggie™️ on the International Space Station, participating students will receive all materials necessary in order to conduct experimental trials, collect data on different crop types and growing techniques, and report these data in a dedicated online portal. The compiled data are accessed by NASA scientists, and plants and methods that succeed in Growing Beyond Earth projects are then tested at Kennedy Space Center. This program provides a steady stream of valuable data to NASA scientists who are developing technologies for growing food crops for long-duration missions into deep space.

Since the program began in 2015, students have tested approximately 200 plant types in numerous locations across the nation. The different classroom locations and citizen scientists involved ensure variability in testing conditions, and if plant varieties do well in many locations, they are likely robust and resilient enough to grow in space. Two of this program’s crop varieties have now been successfully grown in Veggie on the International Space Station, and eaten by the astronauts. This NASA Citizen Science Program is yielding a bountiful harvest for NASA Science!

GBE Students with Chamber

Growing Beyond Earth is designed in partnership with NASA’s Exploration Research, Technology Program researchers at Kennedy Space Center, and Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden to directly support NASA research on growing plants in space.