Kevin Lee

NASA Reveals Plans to Start Growing Vegetables in Space this Year

by , 09/12/13

NASA, Vegetable Production System program, VEGGIE Program, International Space Station, Deep Space, Colonization, Sustainable Food, News, ISS, Orbital Technologies Corporation, Is There Life on Mars, Life on Mars, Bacteria, Space Microbes, Clean Food, Carbon Dioxide, Oxygen, LEDs, Simulating Sunlight, Urban Farming, Farming in Space, Growing Food in Space,

NASA is planning to grow fresh vegetables in space, 230 miles above the Earth. Later this year the space agency’s Vegetable Production System (VEGGIE) program will send astronauts to the International Space Station with kits to grow six romaine lettuce plants. Hopefully the project will allow our space explorers to farm edible food in space for the first time in history.

NASA, Vegetable Production System program, VEGGIE Program, International Space Station, Deep Space, Colonization, Sustainable Food, News, ISS, Orbital Technologies Corporation, Is There Life on Mars, Life on Mars, Bacteria, Space Microbes, Clean Food, Carbon Dioxide, Oxygen, LEDs, Simulating Sunlight, Urban Farming, Farming in Space, Growing Food in Space,

This December, NASA plans to launch a set of Kevlar pillow-packs developed by Orbital Technologies Corporation that are filled with a planting material similar to kitty litter. Over the following 28 days the lettuce plants will grow under bright-pink LED lights used to simulate real sunlight inside the mostly windowless space station.

Once the veggies are grown, the astronauts won’t be eating them anytime soon. Instead, the leafy greens will be sent back to Earth for cleanliness testing and inspected for bacteria. After the first batch of lettuce, the project could expand to other vegetables, including radishes and snap peas. NASA also says it might have even bigger plans to expand the program to potatoes and harder to grow crops such as wheat and rice, but for now leafy vegetables are the easiest to cultivate.

Growing food in space makes a lot of sense, especially if we plan to travel deeper and colonize further away planets. Instead of sending a rocket-fuel burning spaceship into orbit – according to Modern Farmer it costs $10,000 to send a single pound of food into space – our astronauts could develop their own sustainable and fresh food source. At the same time, these plants could naturally scrub carbon dioxide from the air, reducing the strain on environmental systems.

via Modern Farmer and NASA

Images © woodleywonderworks and Orbital Technologies

Related Posts

LEAVE A COMMENT

or your inhabitat account below

Let's make sure you're a real person:


  • Read Inhabitat

  • Search Categories

  • Recent Posts

  • Recent Comments

  • Browse by Keyword

get the free Inhabitat newsletter

Submit this form
popular today
all time
most commented
more popular stories >
more popular stories >
more popular stories >