As astronauts have already grown plants and vegetables on the International Space Station (ISS), the NASA scientists from Kennedy Space Center in Florida are working with the university team to develop methods that can help us to grow plants and vegetables that will satisfy food needs of the astronauts.
To achieve this goal NASA scientists are planning to develop inflatable greenhouse system that will grow plants and vegetables for astronauts during the space missions.
NASA have designed inflatable greenhouses that can be used during the upcoming space missions taking place on Mars and Moon. The inflatable greenhouse prototypes are developed on Earth but they can be deployed during space missions whenever needed. These plants and vegetables will consume the water present on Mars and Moon and the carbon dioxide released by astronauts. This is similar to the working of Biological systems.
These inflatable greenhouses have the ability to grow crops for early beginners and can also clean air that the astronauts breathe. This system can also recycle water and can act as waste disposal unit and the process is known as “bioregenerative life support system”.
These inflatable greenhouses have a cylindrical shape. They are five and a half meter long and a half meter wide. These units can also protect the plants and vegetables from radiation because these greenhouses will be present below the surface of Moon and Mars. There is a need of specialized lighting in the space that can grow plants and vegetables using blue and red LEDs.
Experiments are also conducted to check whether hybrid crops can be grown using natural and artificial lights. Fibre optics cable can transfer the solar lights from the surface to the subsurface greenhouses.
Scott Kelly, Kjell Lindgren and Kimiya Yui were the first astronauts to grow food in space. Although, the ISS have developed plants and vegetable in space some concrete methods are needed to help people working on Moon and Mars missions. The crops that can be cultivated in the space are tomato, radish, reek, rye, potato to name a few.