What Legume should we send to Space?


It’s spring, and time to grow some plants! You and your students can do this at home, and there is no cost for this design challenge. A computer and internet connection are helpful but are optional for your K-16 students. Easy lessons to track student progress can be completed in 1-2 weeks in a Distance Learning Environment.

What would you plant in your Martian garden? Could your research help feed the world?

Help us select the next research plant that is sent to the International Space Station in February 2021!

Legumes have an amazing relationship with a bacteria called Rhizobium. Through a symbiotic relationship, legumes and Rhizobia are a part of natural fertilizer through the fixation of nitrogen. If we were to plant a Martian garden, we will need a rich source of fertilizer. How do living things behave in microgravity, or on other worlds?

The knowledge gained is just not for Mars or the Moon, it’s to help us right here on Earth too.

You can help research the best plant to feed people all over the world! The United Nations has Sustainable Development Goals. This investigation is focused on three of them: Zero Hunger, Gender Equality, and Quality Education. Join schools from Canada, Germany, Japan, Kenya, Mexico, South Africa, the United States as we begin this unique investigation.

This Phase I of the Leguminaut Challenge has a live YouTube session every Friday with amazing guest speakers. Optional lesson plans and assignments for the Challenge are available at no cost. In July, we will begin Phase II – extending the challenge to help us find the best method to grow nitrogen-fixing nodules on these plants. Phase III in the fall will have teachers and students working with ExoLab directly as they prepare for their mission.

Tell your colleagues about this expanded FREE mission that begins on the first day of Spring, with Phase I ending on June 12, 2020. Submissions to support your favorite legume are accepted in any media and format. Younger students may draw or write something in support of their choice, while older students will have an opportunity to support their choice through research.

Whether you would like an exciting project to wrap up the school year, or create an amazing experience for your students next school year, we invite you to join us.

It’s a new world. Come join us!

Choose your Path…

Pathway Comparison

Simple and EasyChallenge Research
Experiment SuppliesXX
Platform Access (Leguminaut Lessons)XX
Platform Access (Complete ExoLab Lessons)X
Platform Access (Connected to the ISS Live)X
Time Commitment1-2 weeks1 year
Live Weekly ConferenceXX
Ground TrialsXX
Professional Development (Summer 2020 - 1 week)X
Launch Watch Party: ExoLab-8 • Feb 2021X
Post Analysis: RNA SequencingX
Co-Investigator AcknowledgmentX
ExoLab-8 Completion CertificateX
ExoLab-8 Flight PatchX
Sign Up Sign Up
Online Lessons
Online Community
Video Conferencing
VIP Guest Speakers
Design Thinking
Review Process

Choose your legume team



(Medicago sativa)

Team Lead
Renée Gamba
Providence, Rhode Island

Screen Shot 2020-03-27 at 9.09.07 AM


(Vigna unguiculata)

Team Lead


Clover Red/White

(Trifolium pratense/repens)

Team Lead
Michael Wilkinson
Bronx, New York

Screen Shot 2020-03-27 at 9.39.58 AM


(Glycine max)

Team Lead
Dianea Phillips
Quebec, Canada

Screen Shot 2020-03-27 at 8.13.55 AM


(Vigna angularis)

Team Lead
Gil Cauthorn
Osaka, Japan

Screen Shot 2020-03-27 at 8.40.40 AM


(Cicer arietinum)

Team Lead
Lauren Parker
Fort Worth, Texas

Screen Shot 2020-03-27 at 9.18.19 AM


(Lens culinaris)

Team Lead
Steve Jones
Millton, Georgia

Screen Shot 2020-03-27 at 9.59.02 AM


(Vigna radiata)

Team Lead
Mary Vaughn
Tampa, Flordia

Screen Shot 2020-03-27 at 10.25.50 AM

Garden pea

(Pisum sativum)

Team Lead
Cee Gould
San Diego, California

From "K to Gray", Magnitude.io can develop a bespoke interplanetary experience for your country, state, or district. Schedule time with us to discuss how we might help foster capabilities and skills for the next generation on Earth and Beyond for deployment in 2024/25. View some of our projects.