Challenge 3: Growing Beyond Earth

For Groups — Maximum points: 400 (1 entry per school)**see points breakdown below**

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 Saturday, September 16, 2020.
  • Students must submit data and research poster for complete entry submission.

TRIAL 1 DATA ENTRY DUE: Wednesday, January 13, 2021 by 5:00 pm

Electronically submit the following:

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

POSTER ENTRY SUBMISSION: Wednesday, January 13, 2021 by 5:00 pm

Electronically submit the following:

Email a digital copy to

✓  Poster Requirements:
 Descriptive title, student’s name and school name clearly printed on entry
 Research poster must be 22″ x 28″, and follow MS poster template
 Photograph/illustration/graph must include caption
 Research poster must include visual representation of data, discussion, conclusion, and at least 2 references
 On-time entry submission (late entries may not receive points)

REQUIRED VIRTUAL TEACHER WORKSHOP DATE: Wednesday, September 23, 2020 from 5:00 pm – 8:00 pm OR 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. Registration for this workshop closed on Wednesday, September 16, 2020 at 5:00 pm. To register, please click here. – NOW OPEN!

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 10/22 3:00 pm EST

Thursday 11/19 4:00 pm EST

Thursday 1/21 4:00 pm EST

Thursday 2/25 4:00 pm EST

Thursday 3/18 4:00 pm EST

Thursday 4/15 4:00 pm EST


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

Trial 2 Proposal and Poster:
Please check back in December for more information.

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

400 Total Points Breakdown:

  • Data from Trial 1: Max 200 pts
  • Research Poster of Trial 1 Data: Max 200 pts
  • Optional Trial 2 proposal, data collection and second research poster: Max 50 pts
  • Presentation at the Growing Beyond Earth Student Research Symposium: Max 50 pts (Schools must register to reserve spots. Register here – 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.