NASA Scientists Have Embarked on Growth of Plants In Space
Necessity is Inspiring NASA To Engage in Growth of Plants In Space and Other’ Worlds
Whenever NASA sends an astronaut to Mars they must be provided with enough food to sustain their lives during the trip. You realize freezing-dried’ pre-packaged meals for a mission of 2.5′ years to the Red Planet’ is likely to consume a lot of weight and sufficient room for an interplanetary vehicle. For a journey to Mars, weight is highly important. The less weight carried the better, at the same time, this food many lose it great taste or the freshness.
This situation has, therefore, compelled NASA to develop an interest in how they can supplement the astronauts’ diets with some plants which can be grown in space or other worlds. They have found seeds that take less space and are not weighty compared to prepared food.
Therefore, scientist’ at NASA Kennedy’ Space Center has been carrying out experiments on how to grow vegetables and plants on a simulated environment of the space. These environments include the microgravity areas of the International Space Station and the outside world which have less gravity compared to that of the Earth, Mars, and Moon.
At Kennedy, the scientists have done experiments with varied lighting and temperatures in order to tell of the environments that are most favorable for the growth of the plants. They are also working hard towards the simulation of conditions on the ISS’ to tell of the plants that can effectively do well on low Earth Orbit. NASA is also trying to think of how they can grow plants using little soil by use of methods such as aeroponic and hydroponics.
Hydroponics involves the delivery of nutrients and water to the roots of the plants through the use of liquid solutions, while with aeroponics plants is usually grown on an environment that has misty hair. These two methods help to avoid the necessity for much dirt that is so heavy and in the long run, may consume a lot of space on the rocket.
Water is known to exhibit different behavior, especially in environments with low gravity. It compacts together in a very weird manner than it would do on earth, which makes it a bit tricky especially on the water root plants. Nonetheless, NASA, have recorded great success on the growth of vegetables on the International’ Space Station. Through the research by NASA, the astronauts have successfully grown and eaten these same plants in the ISS. The first experiment they carried out involved the growth of the red’ romaine lettuce on clay pillows rather than the soil.
Scientists have developed an interest in using the interplanetary soil in the growth of the plants in the future. However, the ‘soil’ which is found on Mars and Moon is not really a normal soil. It’s a regolith’ or rocky, loose material which is made from the volcanic ash that lacks sufficient organic materials. The regolith’ found on Mars is not clean at all. The Rovers found on Mars have discovered a kind of salt that is referred to as the perchlorates in dirt which is highly dangerous for human consumption when taken in high quantities. It is very possible that astronauts have been able to clean the regolith by use of chemical solutions or some other types of bacteria, although the method has not been fleshed out.
The mastery of skills on how to grow the plant in space and other worlds is very crucial for the future astronauts who will be traveling for long-duration’ missions outside the earth. The plant-based food is not only essential for nutrition but also effective for the supplementation of pre-packaged diet alongside vegetables that could be effective for the stressed-out astronauts missing their home. A number of astronauts’ have confirmed that whenever they travel to space they usually miss great foods for their planet. Gioia Massa’ a scientist of NASA studying the production of food in space at the Kennedy Space’ Center informed The Verge’, that having juicy, fresh, crunchy’ texture on their diet is highly crucial.