Photo Credit: NASA/Sean Smith

Space farm? Yes, you heard it right!


Have you heard about space farm? When I was kid, Iam really fascinated with space and I wanted to be an astronaut. Being an astronaut is quite hard, they need to eat food which preserved. These astronauts should carry food enough for the whole mission. Sadly, this food doesn’t taste the same as it used to here on earth.  It is quite dry to assure that these food won’t get spoiled. We should have high respect with these astronauts who sacrifice their comforts for the advancement of mankind.

Have you ever wonder if astronauts could grow food in space? I also wonder if there could possibly agriculture in space. Since before, NASA always wanted their astronauts to always feel at home even though they are hundred miles away from earth.  They have developed many technologies in order to develop different kinds of strategy in having food. One solution was: John Glenn’s research, which has about pureed beef, veggie paste and used new age freeze drying technology. Moreover, astronauts are trying to grow food in space. It sounds really cool right?


Advanced Plant Habitat

An engineer named Bryan Onate at the Kennedy Center is the forefront of this technology.  Bryan led the team in building Veggie. It is the NASA’s first plant growth system. Probably next month, he will be sending another improved version which is the Advanced Plant Habitat. This invention is a mini sized fridge. It is a system in which enables farmers to study the growth of plants in space.  It help in analyzing the factors that affects the growth the plants. This invention has 180 sensors and three cameras positioned in order to monitor every set of the way.

The very innovation of this system compared to previous invention is light. Approximately, the sun emits about 2,000 micromoles to the Earth. However, with this new development it will only emit 1,00o micro moles of light from the sun. Light is crucial for plants to grow. In order for plants to produce food, plants must receive optimal amount of sunlight in order to photosynthesize. This is made because most of time the spaces stations cannot receive any light. They have also want to test which spectrum will best converts better growth to the plants. In this test, the astronauts will compare the red, green, blue and white spectrums.  In the interview, he said “We can really target a light treatment, just so we can start learning the differences.” Truly our childhood dreams of space farms is coming true.

 Martian Soil Gardening

Two years ago, Mark Watney, a researcher grew potatoes on a Martian soil inside a controlled environment which named the “Hab”. We all know that soil needs macro nutrients and micro nutrients in order to grow. However, in reality Martian soil does not have any nutrients. Which means the soil cannot host growth. Furthermore, we can apply fertilizers in order to promote growth in the Martian Soil. Do you think we can grow food on mars? I think maybe if we alter the atmosphere but who knows?


Future is in our hands

With all of this research, the main goal is putting up a space farm someday. Onate sees this as a first step in the biggest challenge to make human more comfortable and sustainable. “In the future, on Mars, if we colonize out there, resources are a premium,” he says.  There will more advances to come in space agriculture. These are only initial steps in making a better world. “These [plant projects] are all the little footsteps we’re taking to understand” with farming we could put humans there permanently, he says. Sooner or later, news might break that space farming is already feasible. Let us hope for further space advancements. Who knows one of you might develop a system that could make space farming possible and sustainable?