Space plants by NASA by year end
The world is not far away from reading news about astronauts on the International Space Station (ISS) eating space grown veggies. This is because NASA now has ‘Veggie plant pillows’, a vegetable production system that has been designed for growing plants in space.
A ‘Veggie plant pillow’, which is basically a portable greenhouse, was taken to the ISS last week and is expected to allow astronauts to grow vegetables in space before the end of this year. According to the British newspaper The Observer, to date NASA astronauts have only consumed food items taken from Earth; so, this experience of eating space grown veggies will be completely new for them.
When talking about her new venture, Dr. Gioia Massa, a NASA scientist at the Kennedy Space Center, said that if the environmental conditions are correct, growing plants in space shouldn’t be difficult.
According to experts, the biggest obstacle that scientists have faced all these years when trying to grow plants in space is the absence of gravity. As there’s no gravity in space, the soil particles refuse to stick together.
As a solution to this problem, Massa decided to make grow bags, which NASA refers to as ‘Veggie plant pillows’. These plant pillows are small and lightweight bags intended only for single use. Each of these bags contains media and time release fertilizers and plants and seeds can be placed in them before flight.
According to the report published in The Observer, last week’s supply mission to the orbiting lab has delivered three plant pillows. Two of those pillows carry seeds of Outredgeous lettuce and the third one contains Zinnia, a plant known for producing colorful flowers. All these three pillows are expected to be planted in succession.