Space Farming: A Wonder of Scientific Advancement

Space Farming is nothing but growing of plants in space. After intense research, plants can now be grown on Mars, Moon and in a space station or space colony. This technology is a very tricky process. It involves light, gravity and nutrients as limiting factors. People like us, i.e. one living on earth can eat anything and everything as we desire but those travelling in space cannot. 

Scientists every day, are trying to find different means to grow food that will be feasible for astronauts to eat. Plants play an important role in providing food to astronauts. Along with this, they also help in removing carbon dioxide from air present inside the spacecraft and create oxygen in turn. 

Generally almost all the International Space Station expeditions are of short durations, so astronauts do not face much health related problems and can survive by physical and chemical means of life support. But for long duration endeavors to Moon or Mars, scientists say that a biological life support system would surely prove beneficial. But growing a plant such as a fruit or vegetable in space is not easy. 

How to Grow Plants in Space? 

The first and the toughest challenge is to grow plants without gravity. Two astronauts namely Steve Swanson and Rick Mastracchio had set up a project named “veggie” in the International Space Station. Veggie is a container which guides plant growth using plant pillows which are bags filled with fertilizer and nutrients. 

In space, roots grow in every direction unlike downward as here in earth, and water and other plant essentials float. As such, the nutrients in plant pillows are equipped with wicking material to which seeds are glued so that roots grow downward and stem upward. LED lights are used as the light source which provides the required energy for growth. 

Plants Grown in Space

Arabidopsis, Rice, Flax, Onions, Radish, Lettuce, Potato, Cinnamon, basil, etc. Benefits of Space Farming Farming in space more than anything else has health-wise benefits. This technique if proved entirely successful can be employed during the longterm journey to Mars. 

Benefits of This Technique

  • Food: Astronauts can eat fresh produce with the help of this technology. 
  • Stress relief: It is very important for astronauts to stay calm in which growing plants during their spare time can prove helpful. 
  • Air quality: Plants can be useful to remove carbon dioxide and add oxygen to the air and also absorb pollutants and improve air quality. 
  • Time record: As the plants bloom and wilt, they may be helpful to record the passage of time as they change over time in space where in nothing else is changing. 

Space Farming is not at all a piece of cake because of course, there is no gravity up there. It is growing with increased research but to avoid all mishaps and achieve best results, more and more work and experiments are needed so that this proves as a revolution.

Written By - Nidhi Verma

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