As NASA travels farther and farther and stays longer in the solar system (especially the long and ambitious trip to Mars), the ability of astronauts to grow vegetables in space has become increasingly important, growing plants in a space environment It has also become a priority development goal of NASA. If successful, it will save a lot of money.
The International Space Station started the Veggie experiment in May 2015. In August of that year, four astronauts cultivated lettuce grown entirely in space and ate it, proclaiming that humans can cultivate vegetables in a microgravity environment, which has a breakthrough significance for mankind to enter the universe.
And, surprisingly, the roots of these lettuces are not as random as one might think but grow regularly in a specific direction, which should benefit from a breakthrough in biological genetic engineering.
Enrich the menu for astronauts
The success of the Veggie system gave scientists great encouragement, and they went a step further and proposed the APH project.
According to the "Christian Science Monitor" news, recently, a "Hercules 5 (Atlas V)" rocket was launched from Cape Canaveral Air Force Base in the United States, carrying supplies and science to the International Space Station. Including an experimental facility the size of a mini-refrigerator, the APH system. NASA hopes to use this platform to grow more vegetables and other plants on the International Space Station to enrich astronauts' recipes.
Compared to the Veggie system, the APH project gives astronauts greater control over the interior environment of the cultivation chamber, including oxygen and nutrient levels, and even measures the temperature of individual plant leaves. APH equips plants with brighter LED lights, including LEDs that emit white light and ultraviolet light, which can produce up to four times the output of the Veggie system.
Wesleyan University botany professor Chris Wolverton said experiments like the APH would be important testing grounds for developing technologies best suited to growing vegetables on extraterrestrials. He is currently funded by NASA and is conducting in-depth research on plant gravity sensing on the International Space Station.
Wolverton told the Christian Science Monitor: "The food astronauts need to subsist can be brought from Earth to the International Space Station or elsewhere; but plants, especially leafy greens, are rich in a variety of microbes and trace elements, which are very important for astronauts to stay healthy."