American space agency NASA is now going in for another experiment at its International Space Station. The agency is set to cultivate lettuce plants for making the space station self sufficient in terms of food.
According to an article in the September issue of ‘The Modern Farmer’, NASA’s vegetable production system starts on an experimental basis this December. The system will make the astronauts at the space station able to harvest lettuce plants very soon.
Scientifically, the growth of plants in zero gravity is not possible. So NASA has conducted many tests on weightless horticulture and now they are confident that they can give it a try. The scientists hope that the absence of gravity won’t affect the growth of lettuce in the orbit.
The plants will be grown in “Kevlar Pillow Packs” and would be nurtured by exposing it to ultra violet rays. The plants will grow fully in a period of less than a month.
If the experiment proves to be a success, it will be a great achievement for NASA. The effort will save them $10,000 per pound currently being spent on carrying food materials to the International Space Station.
The new move will also mentally help the astronauts, because they would feel like they are on earth in the presence of plants.
One worry about the new move is about the space-borne microbes that may develop during the growth of lettuce and the astronauts may have to do extensive testing before consuming the harvested food.