NASA’s in Space Solution to Keeping Plants Alive

By Alexandra Blockton
ablockton@lc.edu

Have you ever wondered if there were plants in space? If so, do they actually grow? I am quite sure we have all had those thoughts! Of course, there are plants in space growing, thanks to the human beings in space conducting scientific experiments and research.

In comparison to growing plants on Earth, it is different when plants are growing in space. NASA, Techshot. Inc and the Tupperware Brands Corporation are currently in the process of getting the solution accomplished.

NASA has been performing experiments for the last 20 years to benefit people on Earth!

In the article “The Shape of Watering Plants in Space,” on NASA’s official website by Danielle Sempsrott from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center, published on March 4, 2020, David Kusuma says, “We’re used to designing and perfecting products to help prevent food from going to waste. When we were approached for this experiment a few years ago, we knew it was a great opportunity to take our long history of food conservation and apply it to the conditions.”

It is said that the size of the spaceship is the same size as a six bedroom house. Studying on the ship is performed at very high speeds. Ranging from fundamental science, and practical applications! For example, the process of growing food in space.

Through  NASA astronauts have watered plants with syringes, using the containers known as plant pillows, which are only able to hold a certain amount of water. However, astronauts seem to think it works well for the small leafy plants.

“PONDS has kind of become the story of Goldilocks,” said Dave Reed, Florida operations director for Techshot. “The first time we tested in microgravity, too much water was delivered to the seeds. The second time, too little water. And the third time, we hope it’s going to be just right. We’re in the fine-tuning phase now, and we’re excited to see this all come to fruition.”

Astronauts experience a lot of traveling to the space station along with their clothes, food, and other necessities they may bring along for everyday living. Other belongings they may need will end up being shipped and delivered to them through the regular cargo supply missions.

“You have to have this give and take, and a bit of trial and error, and I think part of that was seen in the first two PONDS experiments with some things working and others not working,” said Howard Levine, creator of the initial PONDS concept and chief scientist of NASA’s Utilization and Life Sciences Office at the agency’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

Fun Facts about NASA:

-NASA stands for National Aeronautics and Space Administration.

-NASA is a U.S. government agency that is responsible for science and technology related to air and space.

-The Space Age started in 1957 with the launch of the Soviet satellite Sputnik.

-NASA opened for business on October 1, 1958.

-The NASA agency was created to oversee U.S. space exploration and aeronautics research.

-NASA headquarters is located in Washington, D.C., and exercises management over the NASA Field Centers, establishes management policies, and analyzes all phases of the ISS program.

-It is the federal agency that is responsible for aerospace research, aeronautics, and the civilian space program.

-The engineering degrees most in-demand at NASA include aerospace engineering, computer hardware engineering, electronics engineering, and mechanical engineering.

 

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