John W. Young Brewster H. Shaw, Jr. Owen K. Garriott Robert A. Parker Byron K. Lichtenberg Ulf Merbold
November 28, 1983
December 8, 1983
10 days, 7 hours
First flight of Spacelab
This seedling is one of the 24 sunflower plants flown and grown as part of the HEFLEX Bioengineering Test payload on-board Columbia in the Spacelab module. HEFLEX was designed to determine whether nutation (spiral motion of growing plants) took place in the absence of a gravitational forces. Inside a dark box, four dwarf sunflower (Helianthus annuus) seedlings were illuminated by infrared light in the field of view of a video camera. Plants at various stages of growth were kept under a 1-g acceleration until it was their turn to be tested. This seedling was encapsulated in lucite for a museum display.