ExoLab 8 @ TADL – Growing Red Clover on the ISS

What is an ExoLab? ExoLab is an experiment platform that brings together classrooms from around the world, three TADL libraries and the International Space Station in a collaborative investigation of the effects of microgravity on living things via our partners at Magnitude.io.

ExoLab Mission 8: How does microgravity impede or improve plant growth? Can the nodulation that occurs on Earth through the symbiotic legume-rhizobium relationship be replicated in space? View this introductory video for more information.

Join our ExoLab experiment here:

Important Dates: 

The experiment launched on 2/20/2021 aboard NG-15 (watch the Launch Video with our friends at Magnitude.io). Following installation on the International Space Station, the ExoLab 8 experiment will run for 7 – 8 weeks and then be moved to cold storage before it returns to Earth.

The week of February 22nd: The ExoLab and ISS Above displays are unveiled at TADL Main, East Bay, and Kingsley libraries.


Virtual ExoLab programs (Tuesdays at 4:30 pm during March & April on Facebook Live): tadl.org/events  From staff at TADL Main, East Bay and Kingsley branch libraries.

  • February 23rd: Plant Life. Explore the nature of plants with us and what plants need to thrive and feed us on planet Earth and beyond. 
  • March 2nd: Mission Patch design. A mission patch is used to represent a space mission and may incorporate a graphic of the mission focus, astronaut names, and any symbols that explain the mission. What ideas would you want to include in a patch for yourself, your family or your library?
  • March 9th: TBD
  • March 16th: TBD
  • March 23rd: TBD
  • March 30th: TBD
  • April 6 – April 30: TBD

3 important goals of this experiment:

  1. This experiment further explores from earlier ExoLab missions the potential of sustainably cropping in space. 
  2. We will make steps in evaluating if legumes could be potential food crops for human space exploration. 
  3. Finally, elevated temperature and carbon dioxide levels on the International Space Station (ISS) will also provide insight into how this important symbiosis may be affected by climate change.

Who can be involved?

  • Anyone, including educators and students!
  • ExoLabs are typically distributed in schools across the United States, Canada, South Africa and Germany. TADL is the first public library Magnitude.io has worked with and we are excited to test the public side of citizen science and space curiosity here. 
  • We will collaborate with these schools, through the Magnitude.io platform, in the investigation of the effects of the microgravity environment. Students and the public are able to compare the experiment onboard the International Space Station alongside their own classroom or public library lab, as well as the labs in other schools in the network.
  • Traverse-area educators and community members who are interested in getting involved can sign-up here:

ExoLab 8 on the ISS Student flyer

How to access ExoLab 8

Thank you to project partner Magnitude.io for making this amazing space science opportunity a reality.