Many countries around the world have tried to grow seeds of various veggies and plants in space in hopes of a scientific breakthrough. The results have not been as pleasing as people have hoped for, with many issues of not enough sunlight and freezing temperatures those conditions don't always make the best environment for plants. China recently sent a new spacecraft chang´e 4 into space on December 12, 2018, to the far side of the moon in hopes of developing cotton plants.
This is not the first time a country has tried to grow and develop plants in outer space, NASA has tried to grow plants and various types of vegetables on the moon in a space garden, this experiment is called Lada Validating Vegetable Production Unit. The development of plants in space is a very crucial experiment to science this is important because when astronauts are sent to space they bring food for the whole time they are in space this can be up to 3 months worth of food and water. Plant research in space has been being developed and studied for over 40 years according to the Australian Academy of Science, NASA is not the only space agency that has grown plants, China is not far behind in the competition and recently had a short success in growing cotton plants on the far side of the moon. The analysis of growing plants is an ongoing experiment that many scientists are testing every day and are working hard to continue finding a solution to growing plants in space.
Although top scientists have been studying the process of growing plants in outer space it has been a subject of trial and error, NASA has been working very hard to find the best solution. There are various places that scientist have tried growing plants such as International space station, the far side of the moon, and on different space crafts. Many solutions have been created to cope with the low-gravity, extreme temperature changes and the difficulty of watering the plants such as using recycled water for the plants and using electric lighting to help them grow when the sun is scarce. It is not ideal to bring thousands of gallons of water into space because of lack of space and weight of water so scientists have come up with the idea of recycling water that is already on the spacecraft, and when they say any type of water they mean it, sweat, collected breath, and even urine could all be recycled and made into water that is suitable for watering the plants. It is very important to quickly find a way to grow these plants because scientists have high hopes of being able to bring plants on the mission to Mars.
Scientists will continue to work on developing ways to grow plants in space to help future missions to space be as sustainable as possible. Growing plants in space doesn't just save space on flights but it also allows astronauts to have a healthier diet while in space and have some sort of nature with them that reminds them of home. Studies will continue on this process and in the future, we hope to see not only see astronauts but maybe even plants as well.
Story by Barret Bryson