The Lingo

Astrobotany: the study of plants in space, including growing plants on space stations and detecting alien plants on other planets. Read more about astrobotany.

CELSS: Controlled ecological life-support system, a way of using plants and other organisms to recycle waste products and produce clean water, oxygen and food for astronauts. The current methods of life support rely on the resupply or physical-chemical regeneration of materials, and are only viable for small crews and/or short-duration space missions. CELSS is being investigated as an alternative for long-duration missions.

ISS: International Space Station. A space station in Low Earth Orbit, used as a microgravity (zero-g) research station. The first ISS component was launched in 1998, and the station has been continuously occupied since 2 November 2000.
Read blog posts about the ISS.

LDEF: The Long Duration Exposure Facility (LDEF) experiment. LDEF was a cylindrical satellite, deployed into a low Earth orbit by Challenger mission STS-41-C in April 1984. LDEF was returned to Earth aboard Columbia in January 1990. 

MISSE: The Materials International Space Station Experiment is an ongoing series of experiments that tests how samples and specimens react to exposure to the space environment. MISSE has been used to test everything from paints and lubricants to fabrics and solar panel technologies, as well as biological organisms such as seeds. Fixed to the outside of the ISS for years at a time, the samples are exposed to extreme levels of radiation, temperature fluctuations and the vacuum of space.

SEEDS: The Space Exposed Experiment Developed for Students experiment onboard the LDEF satellite explored how exposure to weightlessness and radiation affected the growth of tomato seeds. Schoolchildren all over the world grew the space-exposed tomato seeds and compared them with an Earth-bound control set.

Veggie: NASA’s Vegetable Production System, delivered to the ISS in April 2014. Veggie’s mission is to produce “salad-type crops to provide the crew with a palatable, nutritious, and safe source of fresh food and a tool to support relaxation and recreation.”
Read more about Veggie.