Astronauts Peggy Whitson and Jack Fischer have conducted the first experiments carried out in microgravity on the International Space Station
Astronauts Peggy Whitson and Jack Fischer have conducted the first experiments carried out in microgravity on the International Space Station. They have collected potato seeds, tomatoes and cucumbers from a California greenhouse, planted them in a virtual open field and grown the crops inside the US$100bn station.
The journal Nature reports that “open” to examine the effects of space travel on plant growth would be much better than satellite locations because astronauts on space stations do not use the same soil as terrestrial plants, and there is no turbulence on long flights. Whitson and Fischer gave tomato plants instructions to consume extra tomatoes in return for the cucumbers, but tomatoes still had to be planted.
Despite all the attention to the effects of space travel on plants, space smells far worse than on Earth.
It is no small feat. Space stations have to be totally solar powered for safety, unlike planetary systems such as those on Mars, and those systems are usually only for the astronauts to shut themselves off when the station is under attack.
It’s a breakthrough moment: we are a step closer to growing food in space. In the future, this may allow plants to play an important role in space exploration.