Cotton Goes to Space

Seshadri Ramkumar, Texas Tech University, USA

Cotton will be experimented in space.The cotton sustainability research challenge program sponsored by Target and coordinated by Center for the Advancement of Science in Space has selected a project by Simon Gilroy of University of Wisconsin-Madison as one of its three winners.

The project will endeavor to grow cotton on the International Space Station, to acquire more knowledge for growing it back on earth in a sustainable way.According to Gilroy, the goal is to understand the growth of the root system so that it can be grown more efficiently in scavenge water and sequester more carbon in the soil. Gilroy plans to study the cotton variety that has good drought resistance.

An important and interesting observation will be to find out how zero gravity will affect the root growth that will enable to develop new varieties that use less water.The other two winning projects are from Upstream Tech in Alameda, California and Clemson University.

The United States’ cotton industry has been putting lot of efforts towards sustainable growing practices, consuming less energy, chemicals and water during growing and working closely with the textile industry to explore processes that utilize less resources during finishing into consumer garments.