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Asian Herb in Space: Spaceflight seeds were handed over to the Philippine Space Agency (PhilSA)!

  • Experiment at Kibo
  • Kibo Utilization Office for Asia (KUOA)


The Philippine Space Agency (PhilSA) participated in the Asian Herb in Space (AHiS)1) by the Asian Beneficial Collaboration through “Kibo” Utilization (Kibo-ABC)2) and held the Space Seeds Turnover Ceremony on March 8, 2024, in Manila, Philippines. PhilSA received the space coriander and spearmint seeds from JAXA. PhilSA awarded the space seed to selected students and researchers in the Philippines.
Fig. 1: The Space Seeds Turnover Ceremony between Joel Joseph S. Marciano, Jr., PhilSA Director General (fifth from left) and SHIRAKAWA Masaki, Director of JEM Utilization Center, (third from right). (Image by PhilSA)

Table 1: List of schools that received seeds.

Herb in Space comic strip contest 3) Victorino Mapa High School
Pasig Catholic College
Manila Science High School
St. Louis College of Valenzuela
Carlos Albert High School
Lagro High School
Cayetano Arellano High School
Montessori Academy of Valenzuela
Batasan Hills National High School
Dr. Josefa Jara Martinez High School
research purposes University of the Philippines (UP)
University of Santo Tomas (UST)
De La Salle University (DLSU)
Fig. 2: Manila High School of Science students presenting the "Seeds that Traveled Through Space and Returned to Earth" cartoon. (Image by PhilSA)

Space Seeds Turnover Ceremony

At the Space Seeds Turnover Ceremony, PhilSA Director General Joel Joseph S. Marciano, Jr. said, "The experiments that will be performed on the space seeds are important for the long-term space missions and studies that will contribute to the sustainability of outer space activities. Kibo-ABC is a very important program because it allows countries like the Philippines to access the space environment through the International Space Station. Without programs like Kibo-ABC, access to space environment might still be a dream for many countries, including the Philippines.” The mission's objective is to provide science education and human resource development for youth in the Asia-Pacific region.

SHIRAKAWA Masaki, Director of the JEM Utilization Center, introduced the joint deployment project of the microsatellite “DIWATA-1” from the Kibo module, the simplified space experiment “Asian Try Zero-G” for students, and current AHiS activities. He expressed his expectation for future collaborative work using the Kibo module.
Fig. 3: Joel Joseph S. Marciano, Jr., PhilSA Director General (Image by PhilSA)
Fig. 4: SHIRAKAWA Masaki, Director of JEM Utilization Center (Image by PhilSA)

Table 2: Agenda of the Turnover Ceremony

Welcome Remarks Joel Joseph S. Marciano, Jr., Director General, PhilSA
Message from JAXA SHIRAKAWA Masaki, Director, JEM Utilization Center, JAXA
Presentation of Kibo-ABC activities and AHiS Project TANIGAKI Fumiaki, AHiS Project Manager, (Director, Space Education Center), JAXA
Ceremonial handover of space seeds from JAXA to PhilSA
AHiS Implementation for JHS and HEIs in the Philippines Wynn Dunn Gil D. Improso, Senior Science Research Specialist, OIC/ISMDD, PhilSA
Recognition of comic strips winning entries from Junior High School students
Distribution of space seeds to selected Junior High Schools and Higher Education Institutions
Responses from student, supervisor, and DepEd NCR
Closing Remarks Gay Jane P. Perez, Deputy Director General, PhilSA

1)Asian Herb in Space (AHiS)
Consisting of two missions, the program provides a wide range of opportunities for students and young researchers in the Asia-Pacific region to study space biology. Educational projects in each country and region are planned and implemented independently by each institution participating in the AHiS project.

In Mission 1, sweet basil seeds from Japan and holy basil seeds from Malaysia were launched, cultivated in orbit for about one month, frozen, and collected. On the ground, students participating in the project grew sweet basil seeds provided by JAXA and discussed the results with those grown in orbit. They will refer to the analysis results of the above researchers to learn the significance and results of the space experiment.
In Mission 2, herb seeds collected from various countries and regions were returned to their respective regions after spaceflight, where they were used by participating institutions and schools for educational and research activities and grown and researched by students and researchers.
Since PhilSA joined AHiS after the Mission 2 seed launch, JAXA provided PhilSA with coriander and spearmint seeds prepared by JAXA. These spaceflight seeds were handed over at a Space Seeds Turnover Ceremony held by PhilSA to students selected in the Herb in Space Comic Strip Contest for educational purposes and to higher education institutions for research purposes.

2)Asian Beneficial Collaboration through "Kibo" Utilization (Kibo-ABC)
An initiative established by the Asia-Pacific Regional Space Agency Forum (APRSAF) to promote the use of Kibo and share its value in the Asia-Pacific region.
The objectives of Kibo-ABC include promotion of Kibo utilization among researchers and engineers in the Asia-Pacific region, accumulation of experience and enhancement of capacity among participating space agencies through implementation of projects utilizing Kibo, and creation of bilateral cooperation projects on Kibo utilization between member countries and Japan.

3)Herb in Space Comic Strip Contest
In an event for students organized by PhilSA, students used their creativity and scientific skills to create a cartoon depicting a coriander seed's journey from Earth to space and back to Earth and competed for the top spot.

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