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HEFLEX Sunflower Seedling

Mission: STS-9 Columbia   Crew: John W. Young
Brewster H. Shaw, Jr.
Owen K. Garriott
Robert A. Parker
Byron K. Lichtenberg
Ulf Merbold
Launch: November 28, 1983  
Landing: December 8, 1983  
Duration: 10 days, 7 hours  
Comment: 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.

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