Seed World

Tomatosphere Seeds Made it to Space

After tomato seeds are sent to space, they are distributed to classrooms throughout the United States for student learning.

The First-the-Seed Foundation announced that its Tomatosphere seeds made it to the International Space Station, along with nearly 6,000 pounds of supplies, June 3.

This launch is particularly exciting for the foundation, because this is the first batch of seeds to include HOBO data loggers, which allow for better observation of the exact conditions the seeds are exposed to while in space.

“We are now tracking the variables of temperature, humidity and pressure through all states of transportation,” the foundation reported in a newsletter.

Through its incorporation into schools’ science curriculums, Tomatosphere has engaged more than 3 million students across the United States and Canada since its inception in 2001. Tomatosphere uses space exploration to teach the skills and processes of scientific experimentation and inquiry. Students investigate the effects of the space environment on the growth of food that will inevitably support long-term human space travel.

After approximately one month of orbit, the seeds will return to Earth, splashing down in the Pacific Ocean off the coast of Baja, California, as part of the Dragon spacecraft. Then each participating classroom will receive packets of seed from the space mission.

One package contains seeds that have been sent into space and the other package contains “control” seeds, which have been kept on Earth. Through the Tomatosphere project, students will learn how to conduct a scientific experiment and compare the germination rates of the two groups of seeds. Tomatosphere relies on a “blind test” in which educators and students will not know which of the two packages are the “space” seeds and which are control seeds until the germination process is complete and results have been submitted.

For more information about Tomatosphere, visit