Study shows that lettuce grown on the ISS is just as healthy as its Earth-grown counterpart

Polycount

Posts: 2,844   +575
Staff member

This may seem like a minor development, but it proves that vegetables don't necessarily need to have access to the same conditions they have on Earth to thrive. Even without sunlight, fresh soil, and other natural resources, the red lettuce grown on the ISS had roughly the same level of nutrients you'd expect to see in produce purchased from a local grocery store; albeit with some additional microorganisms (which were perfectly safe to consume).

This is significant news for NASA and other space organizations that hope to send humanity to the Moon and Mars one day. Of course, right now, growing lettuce on the ISS isn't all that critical. While the fresh food is probably a welcome addition to the diet of the station's inhabitants, supply flights to and from the ISS happen pretty frequently. As such, ISS dwellers probably won't run the risk of running low on pre-packaged food anytime soon.

However, these pre-packaged meals could prove less practical for longer, deep-space missions. As the authors of this study (Christina Khodadad and Gioia Massa) explained to Newsweek, pre-packaged food can lose its nutritional value over time. Fresh-grown lettuce (and, eventually, other vegetables) could be a lifesaver in those situations.

We look forward to seeing this space plant growth technology evolve over the next few years. Perhaps astronauts will someday grow plants with even more nutritional value than the ones we buy here on Earth -- only time will tell.

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Vulcanproject

Posts: 1,333   +2,321
I read a study once where they grew various vegetables and plants, subjected them to a hard vacuum for half an hour before bringing back the atmosphere.

Kept growing after and suffered no ill effects for it besides a bit of dehydration because water evaporates so quickly off the plant's surface.

Most plants are pretty tough. Even in an emergency in space with decompression you could probably revive the plants and your food source.
 

QuantumPhysics

Posts: 4,739   +5,147
I read a study once where they grew various vegetables and plants, subjected them to a hard vacuum for half an hour before bringing back the atmosphere.

Kept growing after and suffered no ill effects for it besides a bit of dehydration because water evaporates so quickly off the plant's surface.

Most plants are pretty tough. Even in an emergency in space with decompression you could probably revive the plants and your food source.


The vacuum of space keeps a plant from getting CO2. Therefore, it will die just the same as an animal.

I would doubt a plant will be damaged by solar rays as much as an animal would in unshielded vacuum but it'll die anyway so it's no big deal.
 

Uncle Al

Posts: 8,001   +6,775
GREAT!!! but how easy is it to make Blue-Cheese dressing up there? And don't forget the crouton's!
 

toooooot

Posts: 1,464   +733
But how expensive is it?
I honestly hope that there is a chance there would be a base on mars or at leas the moon with lots of green gardens.
We still havent figured out how to travel relatively fast in space.
We are so slow.
 

Reehahs

Posts: 1,161   +796
If NASA start selling ISS lettuce in restaurants, they can make a tidy profit to fund themselves.
 

Manuel Diego

Posts: 84   +150
The vacuum of space keeps a plant from getting CO2. Therefore, it will die just the same as an animal.
I think you mean it can't get O2. Plants breathe just like any other living being, they take O2 from the air and release CO2. They do need CO2 for the photosynthesis, I.e. to produce sugars using the energy they get from the sun. Those sugars are then used in conjunction with O2 to breathe and get energy for growth.
 

QuantumPhysics

Posts: 4,739   +5,147
I think you mean it can't get O2. Plants breathe just like any other living being, they take O2 from the air and release CO2. They do need CO2 for the photosynthesis, I.e. to produce sugars using the energy they get from the sun. Those sugars are then used in conjunction with O2 to breathe and get energy for growth.

You are completely wrong

plants take in CO2 and Water and Sunlight to produce O2 and Glucose.
Basic Biology.

PHOTOSYNTHESIS ?
 

Manuel Diego

Posts: 84   +150
You are completely wrong

Basic biology: all plants and animals breath (I.e. they take O2 and release CO2). If they can't breath, they die. Photosynthesis is a different process with which the plants create the sugars they need for growth from CO2 and the energy they get from the sun. While most plants photosynthesize, it's not absolutely necessary, as they can get those nutrients from elsewhere (as parasites of other plants). However, as far as I know, all of them have to breath. But I might be completely wrong, why not.
 

captaincranky

Posts: 16,520   +5,320
That's great news! It means we can send rabbits to Mars ahead of us! I'll bet chimpanzees the world around are breathing a sigh of relief. :rolleyes:

Plus, if they breed too many on the way, we could farm them for fur lined spacesuits.
 

QuantumPhysics

Posts: 4,739   +5,147

Basic biology: all plants and animals breath (I.e. they take O2 and release CO2). If they can't breath, they die. Photosynthesis is a different process with which the plants create the sugars they need for growth from CO2 and the energy they get from the sun. While most plants photosynthesize, it's not absolutely necessary, as they can get those nutrients from elsewhere (as parasites of other plants). However, as far as I know, all of them have to breath. But I might be completely wrong, why not.


Did you just Kindergarten science me to try to win an argument?