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Growing Vegetables in Space

Can you imagine living in an environment without fresh produce and flowers? NASA realizes that plants are important for both their aesthetic and practical reasons. 

Plants are just as important to mental and physical well-being in space as they are on earth. So NASA and astronauts on the space station are conducting a variety of plant related experiments. They need to overcome the challenge of growing plants in a closed environment that lacks sunlight and earth’s gravity.

Astronauts have successfully grown three types of lettuce, Chinese cabbage, mustard, red Russian kale and zinnia flowers in a Vegetable Production System they call Veggie. Each plant is grown in a pillow of growing media and fertilizer. LEDs provide needed light and help orient the plant growth in the absence of gravity.

A bit more information: Astronauts ate some of the vegetables fresh while on the space station. Some were preserved and returned to earth for testing and no harmful microbes were discovered. Tomatoes, beans and fruit plants are slated for future tests.

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