NASA's Vegetable Cultivation Project "VEGGIE" in Space

NASA, who had been bothered by the high cost of delivering food to the astronauts living on the International Space Station, is trying to solve this by producing food in the universe. Space vegetable cultivation project NASA is studying "VEGGIEWhat is it like?

Space Farming: The Final Frontier - Modern Farmer

It is said that the most difficult problem to realize space travel is securing food. Naturally we will bring food from the earth, but this cost is very high, according to Dr. Howard Revine participating in the International Space Station Project, when bringing food to the International Space StationIt costs 10,000 dollars (about 1 million yen) per pound (about 450 g)That's right. In addition, Dr. Joia Massa of NASA says, "Only a few fresh items will be consumed by astronauts as soon as they arrive in space." In order to solve the problem of food transfer to such space, NASA is undergoing a project "VEGGIE" to cultivate vegetables in the universe.

NASA has a long history of plant cultivation studies in space, but most of them have academic interests such as how weightlessly influences plant growth and whether plants grow with artificial light etc. It was aimed research. In contrast, VEGGIE can be said to be the first study with the objective of "cultivating plants as food" that can be consumed in space.

There is a frosty view on the fact that expensive taxes are put into plant experiments in space,Food production in space can ultimately be a last resort to solving food problems that occur on a global scaleAnd that. In the future NASA seems to be considering cultivation on the moon which is the "colony of the earth" and far away Mars.

◆ Lettuce
It was the lettuce of reddish varieties called "outdoor leisure" that was chosen as the first cosmic plant. This lettuce grows very quickly and it seems that it contains a large amount of antioxidant which is indispensable for harmful cosmic rays countermeasures.

What we can harvest in a short period of time without requiring so much space to grow and what we can consume without processing is a plant suitable for space cultivation, in this respect sweet potatoes and potatoes will stop for a while and wheat and rice Dr. Massa thinks that it is the worst species. In the future, it is said that radish, beans, tomato, etc. may be candidates for space cultivation.

Lettuce was already grown in space using LED light, but astronauts were not allowed to eat this. In the United States, the criteria for space microorganisms are extremely rigid, and the raised lettuce is brought back to NASA and needs to be measured such as the amount of microorganisms. Although there are not only malignant species but also benign species in the space microorganisms, since it has been judged solely based on the absolute amount of microorganisms in the American standards, the possibility that this criterion will be revised depending on the results of this lettuce analysis There is Dr. Massa that this is a strong wind for the VEGGIE project.

◆ Tranquilizer "Material"
It is expected to be a food space cosmic plant, but we have other advantages.Horticulture has utilities such as stress relief, mood improvement, prejudice prevention, social improvement, physical and mental exhaustion recoveryWhere these are all very important elements to spend in space. Being trapped in a small metal box is such a severe situation that makes a sound even a severely trained astronaut,Raising plants everyday brings about memories on the earth to stabilize the spiritthere is. Raising zucchini in outer space, "Space zucchini"Astronaut Don Petit said that he had never thought about eating zucchini for six months in space. Pettit bought "Colleagues" to eat iscannibalismI felt it was like it, I talked to jokes.

Also, the existence of private enterprises that develop space travel projects has become a major force for VEGGIE. Space cultivation equipment made by Orbital Technologies, Inc. of Wisconsin in 2011 is very lightweight, compact enough to only equip simple watering and lighting system, power consumption is also a desktop PC and very energy saving equipment, already large quantity It seems that there are also signs of production.

Although lettuce is excellent as an astronaut supplement, it alone can not maintain health. Research to grow in the universe to replenish the protein is being promoted "insectConsidering that it is "food production in space, it can be said that it is still a difficult route.

in Science, Posted by darkhorse_log