PLANTS IN SPACE

By Betsy Mejia

March 1, 2019

The experiment to grow vegetables in space began on Nov. 16, 2015 by Astronauts aboard the International Space Station. Zinnia seeds were glued on to a "pillow" (a bag of dirt, fertilizer & nutrients wrapped in a wicking material), took root and bloomed 2 months later. SUCCESS! From there, Astronauts cultivated lettuce, cabbage, rice and more without gravity. Plans are to grow plants in space to help feed the Astronauts. And flowers will continue to be grown for psychological benefits on space flights. We all enjoy their presence in our indoor environments. Plants metabolize carbon dioxide in the air to produce oxygen and plants help control humidity. You could say they refresh the atmosphere, improving daily living conditions for the Astronauts.

By the way, the study of plants in space environments is called Astrobotany. The biggest challenge Astrobotanists face is root development. Without gravity, roots want to grow in every direction.

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