All along, the International Space Station on the astronauts to eat mainly dehydrated, freeze-dried food, these foods not only taste not compliment, and the delivery cost is extremely high. (NASA) began to try to plant vegetables in space, and finally in August 2015 for astronauts to eat the first time in the International Space Station to grow fresh lettuce....
NASA has recently upgraded the experiment to the "Advanced Plant Habitat (APH)" system, hoping to take this on the one hand for the aerospace industry, which is the result of NASA's vegetable production system (Veggie) and "tasting" To provide more delicious vegetables; on the other hand to further study the growth of plants in the alien environment, for more long and hard to prepare for the journey of Mars.
Fresh lettuce is made on Mars
As NASA is getting farther and farther away in the solar system space, longer and longer (especially long and ambitious Mars tours), the ability of astronauts to grow vegetables in space is becoming increasingly important, growing plants in space NASA has also been a priority development goals, if successful, will be able to save a lot of money.
The International Space Station began the Veggie experiment in May 2015. In August of that year, four astronauts breeded lettuce grown entirely in space and consumed it, which proclaimed that humans could grow vegetables in microgravity , The human into the universe has a breakthrough significance.
Moreover, it is surprising that the roots of these lettuce are not as random as people think, but are regularly grown in a particular direction, which should benefit from a breakthrough in bio-genetic engineering.
Let the astronaut's menu be richer
The success of the Veggie system gave scientists great encouragement, and they made further the APH project.
According to the United States, "Christian Science Monitor" news, recently, a "Atlas V" (Atlas V) "rocket from the United States Cape Canaveral air base launched, the rocket equipped with the supply to the International Space Station And scientific equipment, which includes a mini-refrigerator-sized experimental facility & mdash; & mdash; APH system. NASA hopes to use this platform, in the International Space Station to cultivate more vegetables and other plants, rich astronauts recipes.
Compared with the Veggie system, the APH project enables astronauts to better control the internal environment of the incubation room, including oxygen and nutrient levels, and even the temperature of the individual leaves of the plant. APH is equipped with a brighter LED light for the plant, including light emitting diodes that emit white and ultraviolet light, and its output may be four times that of the Veggie system.
Wesleyan University professor of botany Chris and muffton said that experiments like APH will be an important test site, the development of the most suitable for alien cultivation of vegetables technology. He is currently funded by NASA and is conducting an in-depth study of plant gravity sensing on the International Space Station.
Wolverton accepted the "Christian Science Monitor" interview, said: "astronauts to maintain the basic necessities of life can be taken from the Earth to the International Space Station or other places; but plants, especially green leafy vegetables, rich in various Microbes and trace elements are very important for astronauts to stay healthy. & Rdquo;
APH prepares for Mars travel
Of course, the APH project is not just to enrich the astronaut's table. The system is equipped with a lot of sensors and cameras, the main purpose is to monitor the growth of plants, and provide information on how plants adapt to non-terrestrial environment. Scientists believe that microgravity, radiation, and other space factors may affect the growth of organic matter in unexpected ways, and they want more information in this area.
Wolverton explains: "A major problem encountered in cultivating plants in microgravity environments is related to the distribution of water." In a microgravity environment, water is generally easy to form water droplets rather than through the growth base. When these droplets are formed around the plant tissue, it may affect the local & lsquo; water flow, so that plants can not effectively breathe oxygen. & Rdquo;
In the first phase of the experiment "Plant habitat 1 (PH1)", scientists selected seeds from two different plants, Arabidopsis and dwarf wheat, to test the performance of new equipment. If everything goes according to plan, Arabidopsis will be the main crop of the first experiment.
At the University of Villanova's Edward & middot, Gainan said scientists finally hope astronauts can use APH systems and other similar systems to determine the viability of plants growing in non-Earth environments, grow larger and nutritious plants, And finally prepare for the Mars exploration program.
Jean explained that the light on Mars was only 50% of the earth, and the lack of light and unfriendly Martian soil posed a greater challenge to vegetable cultivation, but without such experiments we could not know The reaction of vegetables to the Martian environment. The APH experiment on the International Space Station is expected to allow us to discover plants and vegetables that are best suited for planting in alien environments. & Rdquo;
According to "USA Today" reported that APH experimental project manager Brian & Middot; O nate also believes that: "Scientists can cultivate and grow vegetables in space to learn more valuable information, which can be outside the Earth's orbit Go to Mars to plant more food. & Rdquo;