For a long time, earthly astronauts have been striving to master orbital botany. Long-duration exploration missions require stable, sustainable off-world farming methods, and while the International Space Station (ISS) has seen some successful low-orbit gardening initiatives, all have produced some type of soil or Earth space. Growing media is employed.
Now, that may change, according to NASA flight engineer Jessica Watkins. According to a NASA blog published this week, Watkins has begun harvesting radishes and mizuna greens grown on the ISS without any soil.
Watkins grew cosmic vegetables with the help of a system called XROOTS. Shorthand for Exposed Root On-Orbit Test System, XROOTS uses only hydroponic and aeroponic techniques to support a plant through all stages of growth, starting with a seed.
NASA says the system — built by private sector company Sierra Space — is experimental, consisting of several different “independent growth chambers” that allow astronauts to use a variety of soil-free, air- and water-based concoctions. allow to test. of plants.
It doesn’t look like the machine is fully ready to feed a village, and we’re still waiting for a full culinary review of off-planet vegetables. But the XROOTS experiment just launched in February, and seeing as how it goes for 4-6 months, we look forward to any other crops and discoveries it might yield – mentioning that technology Not doing what would make it possible. way.
- NASA astronauts grow delicious space vegetables without soil
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