Previous experiments had shown that microgravity adversely affected seed development in Brassica rapa L. We tested the hypothesis that gravity controls seed development via modulation of gases around the developing seeds, by studying how hypergravity affects the silique microenvironment and seed development. Using an in vitro silique maturation system, we sampled internal silique gases for 16 d late in the seed maturation sequence at 4 g or 1 g. The carbon dioxide level was significantly higher inside the 4-g siliques, and the immature seeds became heavier than those maturing at 1 g. Pollination and early embryo development were also studied by growing whole plants at 2 g or 4 g for 16 d inside chambers mounted on a large-diameter centrifuge. Each day the rotor was briefly stopped to permit manual pollination of flowers, thereby producing cohorts of same-aged siliques for comparison with stationary control material. The loss of starch and soluble carbohydrates during seed development was accelerated in hypergravity, with seeds developing at 4 g more advanced by 2 d than those at 1 g. Seeds produced at 4 g contained more lipid than those at 1 g. Taken together, these results indicate that hypergravity enhances gas availability to the developing embryos. Gravity's role in seed development is of importance to the space programme because of the plan to use plants for food production and habitat regeneration in extraterrestrial settings. These results are significant because they underscore the tight co-regulation of Brassica seed development and the atmosphere maintained inside the siliques.