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The team strongly suspected that the problem was not microgravity, per se, but adverse growing conditions, such as a lack of air circulation, Brown said.
Gravity plays an important role in sending roots down and stems up. Without gravity, every direction is the same. Roots and stems were exiting the seed and growing in any direction within the plane of the spherical surface. The lighting provided an outward growing cue however its effects were small compared to the effects of capillary forces. Capillary forces, subtle in nature and derived from the water interface on the damp layers of gauze, convinced the sprouts to ignore the outward direction of the light and to grow in the surface plane of the sphere. Each sprout had deployed its cotyledons, two miniature leaves that jump-start photosynthesis and provide for the growth of its real leaves. Cotyledons are the drogue chute equivalent before the main canopy is deployed in a parachute system. The capillary forces were overpowering the effect from the outward direction of light. Without gravity's direction, it was as if the sprouts were lazy and decided to give into the subtle capillary forces instead of standing upright to light's beckoning.