Japan, India plan joint space research project - Yahoo! News Japan, India plan joint space research project AFP Japan, India plan joint space research project AFP/File – Japan and India plan to launch their first joint space research project this year, an experiment in growing … Fri Jun 12, 7:00 am ET TOKYO (AFP) – Japan and India plan to launch their first joint space research project this year, an experiment in growing plants in zero gravity, a Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency researcher said Friday. The two Asian powers are set to launch a small and unmanned Indian-made satellite in October, carrying Japanese laboratory equipment, that is set to orbit for about one week at a height of around 600 kilometres (370 miles). Aboard the satellite they will seek to grow a type of algae, said Noriaki Ishioka, a professor for Japan's space agency JAXA, who called the experiment "a basic study on photosynthetic activity in space." "We will retrieve the satellite after a week or so and conduct genetic examinations on how the zero-gravity environment affects photosynthesis." While the project could eventually pave the way for "space farming," he cautioned that the basic experiment -- using a type of algae called spirulina, not related to the food supplement of the same name -- was an early step. "Spirulina is edible, but it doesn't taste so good," he said. Japan already sends astronauts to the International Space Station and has conducted a variety of space experiments in its Kibo laboratory. But the joint project with the Indian Space Research Organisation aims to allow Japan to diversify its channels for space research.