After Budweiser barley seeds and mutant mustard plant seeds, its time for cotton to make the trip to space. The Center for the Advancement of Science in Space (CASIS) intends to ship off three cotton science experiments to the International Space Station (ISS), the national laboratory announced in a news release.
The three experiments are the big winners of CASIS' Cotton Sustainability Challenge, an initiative that gathered proposals aimed at optimizing cotton farming on Earth by improving water sustainability. In other words, finding better, more efficient ways to grow cotton without using as much water.
CASIS will be working together with NASA to provide in-orbit access to the U.S National Laboratory on the ISS (which is managed by CASIS), as well as assistance with hardware implementation for each of the three selected projects.
"Bringing awareness to cotton sustainability is a powerful opportunity to showcase the unique research facets of the International Space Station," Cynthia Bouthot, who manages the commercial innovation and strategic partnerships at CASIS, said in the news release.
One of the winning projects is helmed by Upstream, a California-based public benefit corporation, and will employ a user-friendly "machine learning platform" to monitor cotton crops through ISS remote sensory images and analyze these images in real time.