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All About NASA’s Novel Approach to Form Space Gardens

In this article, I will be discussing the techniques developed by the scientist at International Space Station(ISS) to grow garden in Space.

Kritika Madhukar
Plants Grown In Microgravity
Plants Grown In Microgravity

Isn't it fascinating to know that NASA is developing techniques to grow whole gardens in Space! As interesting as it sounds, it is twice as complicated to do it. A NASA-sponsored team named Sierra space is currently working on developing techniques to provide nutrients to the plants without using soil as a source, grown in microgravity. What boggles the mind of experts is how to do it, in a closed environment without sunlight.

What led NASA to work on this Idea?

In the coming years, plants are going to play a vital role in providing sustainable life in Space, as you might know, many leading tech entrepreneurs are working on technologies to terraform planets, production of crops on a large scale in microgravity, and utilize them to supplement nutrition through freshly grown, healthy and long-lasting food. Also, in the future, it will contribute immensely by supporting life in space by producing oxygen and reducing carbon dioxide.

The Progress

NASA’s laboratory in space has a Vegetable Production System, called Veggie. The veggie is a low-powered production system about the size of a luggage bag. It can hold up to 6 plants and each plant grows in a pillow, which has fertilizers and clay-based media.

The pillow help distribute water and nutrients to the plants in a healthy amount which allows the plants to grow properly even without typical plant-growing conditions. In the absence of sunlight and gravity, and in order to grow, plant uses other such as light. LED lights are used to produce optimum light conditions for the plants to grow.

Plants Grown by Veggie

The plant growth unit residing in International Space Station (ISS) has successfully grown many vegetables in space since 2014, which includes, Bak Choy, three types of lettuce, Chinese cabbage, Mizuna mustard, zinnia flowers, and red Russian kale.

Some of the plants were harvested and consumed by the astronauts residing on the ISS, and the remaining were sent to earth for examination. The main concern was to check if the plants were contaminated or not. Fortunately, none of them were found to be contaminated

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