Silicate Gardens In Space

Silicate Gardens In Space

Orion’s Quest “Silicate Gardens in Space” virtual mission is a chemistry-based research study in support of the work of crystallographers Dr. Julyan Cartwright and Dr. C. Ignacio Sainz Diaz at the Laboratory for the Study of Crystallography in Granada, Spain.


This investigation combines two experiments that were part of the payloads of NASA’s space shuttle Endeavour missions STS-118 and STS-123. Both flights delivered their experiments to the International Space Station (ISS), STS 118 in August 2007 and STS 123 in March 2009.

Recommended for middle and high school students

Dr. Julyan Cartwright

Laboratory for the Study of Crystallography in Granada, Spain

Principal Investigator (PI’s)

Dr. C. Ignacio Sainz Diaz

Laboratory for the Study of Crystallography in Granada, Spain.

Principal Investigator (PI’s)

Silicate Gardens or Chemical Gardens have been studied on earth for many years and now the research continues onboard the International Space Station. Using sodium silicate solution and various metal salts, this research is designed to provide new information on the formation and growth of hollow tubes, the basic structures of silicate gardens, while in a microgravity environment.


Student’s record observations and measurements of silicate tube growth to evaluate one of several variables as they analyze and compare photographic records from the ISS with an earth-based control study. As a part of this ongoing study student data is submitted online and forwarded to Dr. Cartwright and Dr. Diaz for possible inclusion in their databases.

Silicate Gardens In Space – Additional Reading