A critical part of humans being able to expand into a multiplanetary species is mastering botany in zero gravity, as it will provide us with a reliable resource for food.
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Astronauts aboard the International Space Station (ISS) have taken another step forward in that process by successfully gardening in low-Earth orbit. NASA took to its website to announce that NASA Flight Engineer Jessica Watkins has started harvesting radishes and mizuma greens aboard the floating laboratory, both of which were grown without any soil.
So, how were these vegetables grown without soil? NASA says we can thank an experimental system called XROOTS created by private sector company Sierra Space, which includes multiple “growth chambers” that enable astronauts to test various concoctions on different plants. To create the vegetables the system used hydroponic and aeroponic techniques.
“NASA Flight Engineer Jessica Watkins began harvesting radishes and mizuna greens growing without soil for the XROOTS space gardening study today. The experiment uses hydroponic and aeroponic techniques to grow edible plants so future crews can sustain themselves on longer spaceflight missions beyond low-Earth orbit,” writes NASA
If you are interested in reading more about this story, check out this link nasa.gov/spacestation/2022/06/24/crew-studies-aging-in-space-harvests-edible-plants-before-cygnus-reboost/”here.