DailyDirt: Not Living Off The Land Anymore
from the urls-we-dig-up dept
It’s not always easy to nurture plants so they grow and thrive, but it’s especially difficult without land — and gravity. Farming in space isn’t exactly a common activity, but if any significant number of people are going to live in space for longer than a few months (without re-supply cargo ships or huge stores of packaged food), astronauts are going to need to figure out how to grow their meals. Space station residents have only just started to eat plants they’ve grown in space, so it’ll be awhile before anyone is growing potatoes on Mars.
- Not too long ago, astronauts on the International Space Station ate vegetables grown in space for the first time. A greenhouse for growing plants has existed on the ISS since 2002, but no one on board ate the experiments before. It’s far from a sustainable habitat up there, obviously, but we haven’t exactly perfected sustainable farming techniques on the ground, either. [url]
- The very first space-grown vegetables were aboard the Mir space station in 1990, producing fresh radishes and Chinese cabbage. The first time plants were grown from seeds that were produced by parent plants that were also grown in space happened in 1997. A complete lifecycle (seed to seed) for growing plants in space isn’t as easy as just adding water and setting up some lights. Microgravity and a variety of environmental conditions make it difficult for some plants to propagate. [url]
- The ‘Seeds in Space’ program allowed thousands of students to witness the differences of growing plants in space versus growing them on Earth. The kids observed how plants (rocket lettuce) grew in all directions both in micro-gravity and without a light source. [url]
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