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Some people believe that crops can be grown anywhere—you just have to know what crops are best for the environment you’re in. Now that a crop has been successfully grown (and eaten) on the International Space Station, that belief might just be valid.
Dr. Bruce Bugbee is the Plants, Soils and Climate Department Director at Utah State University. For the past 10 years, Dr. Bugbee has been working with NASA to grow plants in space.
“What we have focused on is just growing a few salad crops. Growing some lettuce, growing some radishes and they help to recycle the water,” Bugbee told TechCrunch.
Recently, the project yielded fantastic results, with six astronauts being able to harvest and eat crops onboard the International Space Station. With this advancement, the question then becomes where else in space can crops be harvested? With the attention Mars has been getting lately—from the latest Matt Damon movie to people’s desires to live on the planet—one has to wonder if crops on Mars is an option. Bugbee told TechCrunch that the soil on the red planet contains too much iron oxides and that there’s not enough natural light to grow much. However, that doesn’t mean options haven’t been thought of. Bugbee suggests hydroponics and recycle water, as well as “reflective mirrors with lenses that concentrate sunlight and bring it inside with fiber optics,” according to TechCrunch.
A proposal has been made by Tesla Elon Musk and SpaceX to send a greenhouse full of edible plants to Mars, TechCrunch reports. NASA is also interested in exploring Mars, possibly for future farming. TechCrunch reports that NASA has not made it clear if plans have been made to move forward. However, Bugbee says crops in space will be cost-effective for space travel, given that to send a pound of food and supplies into orbit costs $10,000 today.
Do you think growing food in space will be a reality in our lifetime?
10/5/2015 1:10 PM]]>