Germany uses LED lighting to successfully test polar vegetables

In the Arctic scientific research camp in Germany, researchers tried to grow tomatoes, cucumbers, kohlrabi, and other vegetables with success. So far, the camp has harvested 183 kilograms of fresh vegetables, including 29 kilograms of tomatoes and 1.6 kilograms of cucumbers. This experiment can not only partially solve the needs of the camp staff for fresh vegetables in the long winter, but also bring inspiration to the cultivation of vegetables in the African desert, or the survival of human beings on Mars in the future.

Germany uses LED lighting to successfully test polar vegetables

The polar winter has a long "isolation phase" when the sea ice is so thick that no supply ships can reach the camp. In the past, the resident personnel in the camp could only rely on stored vegetables and food, and it was impossible to eat fresh vegetables.

At the beginning of February this year, the personnel of the German Aerospace Center Arctic Research Camp used the plant containers, substrate, and nutrient solution sent by the expedition ship to try to grow tomatoes in the container greenhouse. It was minus 42°C outside, but the tomatoes were growing tenaciously in the plant containers placed in the 10cm-thick container. Since there is little sunlight, the researchers used LED lights for illumination.

The project manager Schubert said that although the tomatoes grown in the plant container are not big, their vitamin content exceeds that of frozen vegetables. After all, they are fresh vegetables, which are already enjoyable for those who love salads. Moreover, growing vegetables in polar regions do not require pesticides.

Schubert believes the project could also be a model for the future of agriculture. More and more vegetable production around the world will be transformed into vertical farms, which can optimize the ecological footprint of cities, such as fertilizing vegetables with wastewater from wastewater treatment plants or sending exhaust gas containing carbon dioxide to greenhouse vegetable greenhouses.

The German Aerospace Center is working with Morocco and Egypt to experiment with growing vegetables in the desert. They placed some containers in remote villages and used solar energy to spray the minimum required water for the vegetables in the container plant containers. This project has been supported by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research.

Associated with this project is the exploration of human survival on Mars. In the future, humans will fly to Mars, either on the way, or stop after arriving on Mars, during which time they will have to grow their own fruits and vegetables.


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