Why is NASA conducting plant research aboard the International Space Station?
This is timely, as I was ranting yesterday about the otherwise worthwhile series "BBC Science Club", which managed to spend an entire hour talking about the human colonization of space and extra-terrestrial life, without once mentioning the words "plant" or "photosynthesis". The previous episode looked at extinction, also without reference to plants, as elegantly summarized by Eoin Lettice (http://www.communicatescience.eu/2012/11/bbc-science-club-and-plant-blindness.html).
If it wasn't an otherwise pretty good effort at presenting science in a fun and entertaining way it wouldn't matter, but it is, and it does. So, spread the word, if humans decide to set up permanent colonies in space, the will be bringing along their life-supporting plants.
Here's the link to the show's site:
Thanks @BotanyRocks for reminding me about this - the BBC can make great plant science programs, including the wonderful "How to Grow a Planet" series (http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b01bywvr, which you can download for as little as £5!). In this series, our dependence on O2 from plants is illustrated in a "Priestley bell jar"-type experiment, the results of which are published here: http://www.extremephysiolmed.com/content/1/1/4.