The ExoLab-8 mission will investigate how the stress of spaceflight affects the symbiotic relationship of red clover and nitrogen-fixing Rhizobia bacteria. With a goal of achieving root nodulation during spaceflight, which has never been done before on the ISS, you have a rare opportunity to be part of this authentic research mission. As a mission participant, you will grow red clover plants in the 1G environment of Earth as part of the ground control experiment. Then, you will compare results to the flight experiment in the microgravity environment of the ISS.

Experience From a Kitchen or a Classroom

As a a project-based, life sciences learning experience, the ExoLab-8 mission is open to all learners, no matter your age or location. Participate as a class, club, learning community, or individual citizen scientist. Each user will have access to age-appropriate science content, pre-made and live video sessions, and ExoLab plant growth data and images. Plus, during the mission, you will be able to view the experiment while it’s growing in space.

With the pandemic teaching workload weighing heavily on educators, we have created ready-to-go NGSS-aligned lessons (K-12) that drive inquiry, boost engagement, and can be accomplished by students in any learning environment. You have the flexibility to assign and adjust lessons based on the individual needs of your students.

We will begin pre-mission lessons and support videos in late January and prepare for the rocket launch on February 20. The experiment will run on the ISS for about a month and return to Earth in May for post-flight science analysis.

Preparing for Launch on Feb. 20

In cooperation with the US National Laboratory on the International Space Station, you are invited to join us for ExoLab-8 as we investigate astrobotany on a research lab larger than a football field, 250 miles above the planet, traveling at 17,500 miles per hour. With only one month left before we launch, you must act today! Place your order now to ensure that your supplies arrive before the mission starts. Visit the Magnitude shop to purchase your ExoLab and/or supply kit.

ExoLab-8 Curriculum

This novel event-based approach to learning will position your students at the forefront of scientific research, discovering insights in real-time alongside our team of Principal Investigators and scientists. Our extensive NGSS-aligned (K-12) curriculum library on the Magnitude Classroom follows the 5E instructional framework.

Core Lesson Sequence

Follow the core lesson sequence or pick and choose the lessons to match your curriculum needs. Topics connect biology, chemistry, and environmental science through the phenomena of a red clover plant. Lessons in the Magnitude Classroom are leveled for all grade levels: K-2, 3-5, 6-8, and 9-12/adults.

  • Scientific Inquiry
  • Conducting experiments on the ISS in microgravity
  • Data collection and analysis
  • Rocket Science
  • Plant Physiology
  • Legumes and the Nitrogen Cycle
  • Tropisms
  • Microscopy
  • Bonus lessons include art projects, nutrition, genetics, soils, food sustainability, and more.


On Orbit Experience

In February, nine seeds will be placed in three test tubes within the 4 cube unit ExoLab. The experiment will launch on the NG-15 cargo resupply mission on February 20, and about two days later, it will be powered up by an astronaut on the ISS. Through the Magnitude Classroom, you will have near real-time imagery of the growing seedlings and can observe how microgravity impedes or improves plant growth, and if the nodulation that occurs on Earth through the symbiotic legume-rhizobium relationship can be replicated in space. Each week, you will have access to pre-recorded and/or live videos with mission updates.


Post-flight Analysis

At the end of the flight experiment, mission participants will receive a certificate of completion as recognition for their contribution to the groundbreaking legume research on the ISS.

With the experiment returning to Earth in May 2021, our post-flight science investigation will take place during the summer. Since this is a demonstration mission to achieve root nodulation, our research focus will primarily involve microscopy. We look forward to sharing our research and advancing the goal of food crop production for long duration missions.

Whether we look to make life better here on Earth or to building a greenhouse on the surface of the moon or even Mars in the years ahead, Magnitude’s ExoLab creates a unique and memorable experience for people of all ages.