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CAN YOU GROW IN SPACE?
The answer is yes, at least for certain types of plants.
The Vegetable Production System, or Veggie, was first deployed in 2013 and is capable of producing salad-type crops to provide the crew aboard the International Space Station with a palatable, nutritious, and safe source of fresh food. Veggie provides lighting and nutrient delivery, but utilizes the cabin environment for temperature control and as a source of carbon dioxide to promote growth.
The Vegetable Production System, known as Veggie, is a space garden residing on the space station. Veggie's purpose is to help NASA study plant growth in microgravity, while adding fresh food to the astronauts' diet and enhancing happiness and well-being on the orbiting laboratory.
The crew aboard the International Space Station have grown two batches of mixed greens (mizuna, red romaine lettuce and tokyo bekana cabbage), and are now running two Veggie facilities simultaneously.
Organisms grow differently in space, from single-celled bacteria to plants and humans. But future long-duration space missions will require crew members to grow their own food, so understanding how plants respond to microgravity is an important step toward that goal. The Veg-03 experiment uses the Veggie plant growth facility to cultivate a type of cabbage, lettuce and mizuna which are harvested on-orbit with samples returned to Earth for testing.
GROW IN SPACE?
The Vegetable Production System (Veggie) system was later used aboard ISS.Plants tested in Veggie before going into space included lettuce, Swiss chard, radishes, Chinese cabbage and peas.
Red Romaine lettuce was grown in space on Expedition 40 which were harvested when mature, frozen and tested back on Earth.
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