Challenge 3: Growing Beyond Earth – Spring 2021

For Groups — Maximum points: 350* (1 entry per school)
*Eligible schools may receive up to 100 additional pts for their Fall 2020 data for a total of 450 pts.

YOUR CHALLENGE: Humans have never been more determined to explore the universe, however  reaching and settling new planets is still an incredible challenge with several hurdles to overcome. One of the biggest challenges will be providing fresh produce for astronauts during long distance space travel. For the past 5 years, your research has brought NASA closer to solving that problem and has supported some of the important components of growing plants in space. For the Spring 2021 Trial, students selected one of the three variables, fertilizer, photoperiod, or light spectrum, to test how they affect plant growth. Downloadable PDF


  • Teachers must register to attend a mandatory workshop in January

  • Students must submit data and research presentation for complete entry submission

SPRING 2021 DATA & RESEARCH PRESENTATION DUE: Wednesday, April 7, 2021 by 5:00 pm
The following items are due electronically:

✓  Spring 2021 Data Requirements:
 Spring 2021 Google Form submitted by December 16th
 Data entries updated weekly on provided Google data sheets
 All appropriate data fields complete and valid. Any irregularities or empty fields accompanied by an explanation
 Weekly student-centered, scientifically-relevant tweets including the school name, @GrowBeyondEarth, and descriptions of any photographs, illustrations or graphs
 On-time data entry submission (late entries may not receive points)


✓  Spring 2021 Research Presentation Requirements:
 Opening slide clearly includes descriptive title, students’ names and school name 
 Photographs/illustrations/graphs and tables must include captions
 Presentation is 5 slides maximum (excluding opening slide and references)
 Presentation must include the following: introduction, materials and methods, results, discussion, conclusion and at least 3 references
 Bibliography must cite at least 3 sources, follows MLA or APA format
 On-time entry submission (late entries may not receive points)

REQUIRED VIRTUAL TEACHER WORKSHOP DATE: Saturday, January 9, 2021 from 9:00 am – 12:00 pm OR Wednesday, January 13, 2021 from 5:00 pm – 8:00 pm
Scientists from NASA will conduct this workshop to introduce their research and the problems they try to solve for future space missions. During this time teachers will learn about the Spring 2021 research protocols, and schedule a time to pick up materials. Visit our Teacher Workshops page for more information. To register, please click here – Registration for this workshop closed on Wednesday, December 16th.

CHAT WITH A SCIENTIST: We will be hosting an OPTIONAL online chat with NASA scientists about the Growing Beyond Earth project. Teachers participating in GBE will receive an invitation a week before each chat with instructions on how to participate. See below for a list of scheduled dates and recordings: 

Thursday October 22 at 3:00 pm EST

Thursday November 19 at 4:00 pm EST

Thursday January 21 at 4:00 pm EST

Thursday February 25 at 4:00 pm EST

Thursday March 18 at 4:00 pm EDT

Thursday April 15 at 4:00 pm EDT

Bring your class on a virtual field trip at Fairchild. Please visit Explorer Field Trip Programs for more information.

For more information on how your submission will be evaluated, see Challenge 3 Evaluation Sheet & Symposium Presentation Evaluation Sheet

350 Total Points Breakdown:

  • Data: Max 100 pts

  • Research Presentation: Max 150 pts

  • Symposium Presentation: Max 100 pts

VIRTUAL GROWING BEYOND EARTH STUDENT RESEARCH SYMPOSIUM DATE: Saturday, April 17, 2021 from 12:00 pm to 3:00 pm (EDT)
Schools that submit a research presentation will be able to present their Spring 2021 results. Awards will be given that day for top presenters by NASA scientists. To register please click here – Closed on April 13, 2021.

This Challenge meets various state standards, visit Challenge 3 Benchmarks

Welcome video from NASA
Growing Beyond Earth (homepage)
Growth Chamber Assembly Instructions – NEW!
Fertilizer Treatment Protocols – NEW!
Photoperiod Treatment Protocols – NEW!
Light Spectrum Treatment Protocols – NEW!
        Attachment 2 – Blue, white, red, green light
        Attachment 2 – Red light
        Attachment 2 – White, blue, red light
Data Sheet Instructions – NEW!
What to Tweet
2019-2020 GBE results 

Introduction – Dr. Carl Lewis and Amy Padolf (Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden)
Project Overview – Dr. Gioa Massa and Trent Smith (Kennedy Space Center)
Data Entry– Marion Litzinger  (Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden)

GBE Student Research 2015-2020
Advanced Plant Habitat
Veggie Fact Sheet
GBE Twitter Feed
Food Production for Space Exploration NASA presentation
Growing Beyond Earth TEDx (video) and Space Station Live: Veggie 01 (video)
Publications – UPDATED!
Florikan Fertilizer: Collaboration with NASA (presentation)
2015-2020 GBE Seed List
How Plants Grow in Space

APA and MLA Citation Generator

This website is based upon the work supported by NASA under grant award No NNX16AM32G. Any opinions, findings and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.