Challenge 3: Growing Beyond Earth

For Groups — Maximum points: 450 (1 entry per school)

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. This year, students will test different pollination methods with peppers by growing them in the “Advanced Plant Habitat”, the big brother of “Veggie”. Each teacher will receive a classroom set of planting materials for each individual student to grow their plants at home. Downloadable PDF
*More information regarding Trial 2 will be available in December*


  • Teachers must register to attend a mandatory workshop by Wednesday, September 23, 2020. 

  • Students must submit data and research poster for complete entry submission.

PROPOSAL DUE: Wednesday, December 16, 2020 by 5:00 pm
FINAL DATA ENTRY DUE: Wednesday, January 13, 2021 by 5:00 pm

Electronically submit the following:

Email the following to

  • Draft proposal (Maximum 1 page, includes: testable hypothesis, identification of control and variable, materials, and brief explanation of methods)

✓  Data Requirements:
 Data proposal submitted (Maximum 1 pg. includes: testable hypothesis and methods)
 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)


POSTER ENTRY SUBMISSION: Wednesday, April 7, 2021 by 5:00 pm  

**If printing via VistaPrint, poster templates must be uploaded by TBD**

Email or electronically submit the following:

  • Trial 2 raw data sheets


✓  Research Poster Requirements:
 Poster size is 48″ x 36″
 Photographs/illustrations/graphs and tables must include captions
 Descriptive title, student’s name and school name clearly printed on entry
 Poster follows provided template (includes: abstract, introduction, materials and methods, results, discussion, conclusion and at least 3 references)
 Research poster must follow HS poster template
 On-time entry submission (late entries may not receive points)

REQUIRED VIRTUAL TEACHER WORKSHOP DATE: Saturday, September 26, 2020 from 9:00 am – 12:00 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 research protocols, and schedule a time to pick up materials. Visit our Teacher Workshops page for more information. To register, please click here​.

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 EST

Thursday April 15 at 4:00 pm EST

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

450 Total Points Breakdown:

  • Data: Max 150 pts

  • Draft Proposal: Max 50 pts

  • Poster: Max 150 pts

  • Symposium Presentation: Max 100 pts


Schools that submitted a poster and will be able to present their Trial # 2 results. Awards will be given that day for top presenters by NASA scientists. This event is open to the public. Event Flyer and Registration – COMING SOON!

This Challenge meets various state standards, visit Challenge 3 Benchmarks

Welcome video from NASA
Growing Beyond Earth (homepage)
Research Protocols REVISED 09-29-2020 – NEW!
Pepper Pollination Study (presentation) – NEW!
Data Sheet Instructions REVISED 10-01-2020 – NEW!
What to Tweet
2019-2020 GBE results – NEW

Part I – Dr. Carl Lewis and Amy Padolf
 (Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden)
Part II – Dr. Gioa Massa and Trent Smith
 (Kennedy Space Center)
Part III – Jacob Torres
 (Kennedy Space Center)
Part IV – Marion Litzinger and Yang Wen
(Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden)

GBE Twitter Feed
Food Production for Space Exploration NASA presentation
Growing Beyond Earth TEDx (video) and Space Station Live: Veggie 01 (video)
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.