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IN Science & Technology ON 22 Nov, 2015
Have you watched "The Martian"? If so, you'd see that Matt Damon's character had successfully grown lots of potatoes in the red planet, is Mars. Does that sound like science fiction? No, because the movie is actually based on a book that is scientifically well-researched. Aside from that, scientists at NASA have actually made it possible for astronauts at the International Space Station to grow some lettuce in outer space. Technically, they didn't plant them in the vast, bleak outer space, but they did plant them inside the ISS, which is basically hovering around outer space.
NASA astronaut Scott Kelly, who was a crew member of the International Space Station, first began planting zinnias inside the area. These flowers are actually expected to bloom early next year!
Just this August, Scott Kelly, Lindgren, and Japanese astronaut Kimiya Yuki were able to actually harvest romaine lettuce that they cultivated inside the ISS! Isn't that amazing? They just added a little bit of oil and vinegar, and the result made them so delighted.
The zinnias that are expected to bloom next year and the Red Romaine lettuce are just two of the plants planned for the Veggie plant growth system -- a project that hopes to grow a variety of plants at the space station.
What's so good about plants grown while in space? Well, astronauts need this because the further they go into space, the more they would need to depend on their own for food. That means having to face the fact that they might not get enough food transported from Earth. Thus, the key to the next space frontier with actual humans is for astronauts to grow food on their own.
The space plant experiment hopes to uncover scientific information on long-term seed stow and germination. In addition, researchers want to know whether it's possible to effectively pollinate plants in an enclosed space such as the ISS.