Farming in Space?

Image Credit: Flickr User Gerry Dincher, via CC

What do astronauts eat in space? Till now, astronauts pack their food and carry it to space. The cooked food that they take to space is freeze dried. It means that all the water from the cooked food is drained out, and it is packed in vacuum bags so that it doesn’t get spoiled. This seems like a good solution for short term missions to space. But we know our space technology is advancing by day and scientists are planning several longer missions into space in the future. These missions to Moon or Mars are expected to last many years. What will be done then?

One option is to deliver food in space whenever the stocks are about to get over. But it is  extremely expensive. So then what?

NASA scientists are exploring ways to grow food in space. This is tricky as there is no soil is space. Therefore, scientists are experimenting on growing plants using mineral nutrient solutions, in water, without soil. Such a technique of cultivating plants is called “Hydroponics”. Light, temperature, and carbon dioxide levels are carefully controlled. Plants like radishes, lettuce and green onions have seemed to grow well when grown in this condition.

There wouldn’t be so many variety for space travelers but fresh food over frozen one, anytime! :)



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