Discover STEM - Petrosains, The Discovery Centre

Aeroponic Plant in Space

NASA is looking at ways to provide astronauts with nutrients in a long-lasting, easily absorbed form – freshly grown fresh fruits and vegetables. The challenge is how to do that in a closed environment without sunlight or Earth’s gravity?

AEROPONIC technique is a solution to PLANT IN SPACE

Aeroponic growing systems provide clean, efficient and rapid food production. Crops can be planted and harvested in the system year round without interruption, and without contamination from soil, pesticides and residue.

What is AEROPONIC?


  • Aeroponics is a way of growing plants without soil and with very little water.

  • Grow vertically as well as horizontally, so it can be a great way of saving space.

  • The roots are held in a soilless growing.

Why Aeroponic is the best technique to Plant in Space?

SEED

Brought from earth – Vacuum sealed and light weight.

LIGHT

Light emitting diodes (LEDs) produces a spectrum of light suited for the plants’ growth.

SOIL

No need to bring soil from earth – reduce heavy loads in rocket.

Note: Moons and Mars don’t have suitable soil (organic material), which are not conducive for plants growth.

Introducing ‘VEGGIE’, a plant growth unit on the International Space Station.

Name of Project
Veggie

Leader of Project
Dr. Gioia Massa, NASA Veggie

What is it?
A space garden residing on the space station.

Size
Carry-on piece of luggage

Planting Medium
Pillow (Each plant grows in a “pillow” filled with a clay-based growth media and fertilizer).

Function of Pillow
To help distribute water, nutrients and air in a healthy balance around the roots.

Average days harvest
33 to 56 days (lettuce crops)

Source of light
LED Lighting

Suitable Plants in Space (Microgreen)

LETTUCE

Low in calories, fat and sodium.
Source of fiber, iron, folate and vitamin C.

CHINESE CABBAGE

Low in calories.
Source of vitamin K, C and A.

MIZUNA MUSTARD

Low in calories.
High in vitamin A and C.

RED RUSSIAN KALE

Source of vitamin A, K, C and B6.

Comparison

Why Aeroponic is the best technique to Plant in Space?

Beneficial Bumble bees attraction.

Gardens will be better harnessed, thereby possessing the power of nature itself.

Fresh clean produce.

No pesticides and no genetically modified food.

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