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NASA bets the farm on the long-term viability of space agriculture

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posted on Feb, 9 2017 @ 10:27 AM
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Plant growth systems, that is what Nasa is betting on to feed hungry Astronauts. The newest form of these experimental systems is the size of a min frig and will allow researchers on the ground to look and monitor plant growth.


Bryan Onate, an engineer stationed at the Kennedy Space Center, is on the forefront of this technology. He helped lead the team that built Veggie, NASA’s first plant growth system, and next month he's sending up Veggie’s new and improved brother, the Advanced Plant Habitat.

The habitat is the size of a mini-fridge. But instead of storing soda, it will carefully record every step in the growth of plants aboard the space station. This will allow researchers on the ground unprecedented insight into how plants are shaped by microgravity and other forces at work in outer space. And, Onate says, “astronauts may get to enjoy the fruit of our labor.”


The mini frig is call Advanced Plant Habitat, not too catchy, but it has 180 sensors to tell researchers and scientists on the ground what in the heck is going on in their mini farm.
This is very important to keep costs down, it is about $10,000 a pound to send food up to the space station, so growing it up there may be a huge savings.


Though it’s small, the new habitat is equipped with over 180 sensors and three cameras. The sensors will record data about temperature, moisture and oxygen in the unit. The cameras—one of which is infrared—will provide further insight into what’s happening in the chamber. All of the data is processed by a computer named, with NASA’s characteristic acronymic humor, “PHARMER”—Plant Habitat Avionics Real-Time Manager in Express Rack. “It’s really, truly a scientific toolbox,” Onate says.

Except for installation, the system should run with very little input and cut down on the astronomical (wink wink) cost of shipping food to the station. Currently, it costs more than $10,000 a pound to send food and other supplies hurtling upwards. That means your typical 14 ounce loaf of bread—just $3.35 here on Earth—would cost somewhere in the ballpark of $8,750 to send to space. Plus, the freshest stuff doesn’t last long. “If I pack a bag of cherry tomatoes…My tomatoes are going to only be good for a week or two maybe,” Onate says. “But if I take seeds with me, I can grow food.”
www.popsci.com...-4




posted on Feb, 9 2017 @ 10:39 AM
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a reply to: seasonal

We need to go there and make mistakes. Lab samples are general ideas. Small things can induce large outcomes.Your toe fungus or mine?



posted on Feb, 9 2017 @ 10:39 AM
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a reply to: seasonal



Except for installation, the system should run with very little input and cut down on the astronomical (wink wink) cost of shipping food to the station. Currently, it costs more than $10,000 a pound to send food and other supplies hurtling upwards. That means your typical 14 ounce loaf of bread—just $3.35 here on Earth—would cost somewhere in the ballpark of $8,750 to send to space. Plus, the freshest stuff doesn’t last long. “If I pack a bag of cherry tomatoes…My tomatoes are going to only be good for a week or two maybe,” Onate says. “But if I take seeds with me, I can grow food.


They actually see this happening on the ISS? Cool story bros.

Loaf of bread? Going to plant a mini wheat field inside the ISS? How many tomatoes do you think you can keep harvesting from a patch inside the ISS.

More BS for the believers.



posted on Feb, 9 2017 @ 10:43 AM
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a reply to: gription

Can you imagine being 1/2 way to mars and the whole crop of whatever is wiped out by a fungus.....

Correct NASA needs to study this, this will help farmers on the ground too.



posted on Feb, 9 2017 @ 10:46 AM
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a reply to: AttentionGrabber

I saw a hydroponic tomato plant in a green house that was 1 year old that was loaded with tomatoes. It was huge.

But I doubt that the space station wants a tomato plant growing all over it's limited space inside.



posted on Feb, 9 2017 @ 10:51 AM
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a reply to: seasonal

Hydroponic plants need food to grow food, but they'll probably use their own crap as fertilizer, there's tons of it in that can.



posted on Feb, 9 2017 @ 10:55 AM
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a reply to: AttentionGrabber

I read a study that said there is enough nitrogen in a persons urine to grow all the corn that person uses.



posted on Feb, 9 2017 @ 10:58 AM
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a reply to: seasonal

The idea ,as far as i know, is to pre-supply the missions. Crashing and burning into Mars is one Monumental way to go ace 'Sign Me Up'.



posted on Feb, 9 2017 @ 11:00 AM
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a reply to: seasonal

That's probably all the nitrogen a plant needs, not all the nutrition a plant needs.....



posted on Feb, 9 2017 @ 11:20 AM
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a reply to: AttentionGrabber


“If I pack a bag of cherry tomatoes…My tomatoes are going to only be good for a week or two maybe,” Onate says. “But if I take seeds with me, I can grow food.

As an aside, how I think life is spread around the cosmos.

Plants need soil water, nutrients, too. Lights, temperature control , this monitoring computer and astronauts to nurture them.

Add all that up its a lot more than ten thousand pounds of rocket fuel to get to orbit, dock and unload.



posted on Feb, 9 2017 @ 11:30 AM
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a reply to: AttentionGrabber

Correct, corn is a heavy nitrogen feeder. But there is many many other nutrients "dirt" provides.



posted on Feb, 9 2017 @ 11:30 AM
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a reply to: intrptr

I know, so you agree that this is BS, at least in the way it is presented?



posted on Feb, 9 2017 @ 11:32 AM
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a reply to: seasonal

Yes, but since there is no dirt on the ISS, or at least no soil, the nutrients have to come from somewhere.



posted on Feb, 9 2017 @ 11:33 AM
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a reply to: intrptr


NASA-derived aeroponics grows food out of thin air



posted on Feb, 9 2017 @ 11:41 AM
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a reply to: AttentionGrabber

Human waste



posted on Feb, 9 2017 @ 11:45 AM
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originally posted by: AttentionGrabber
a reply to: intrptr

I know, so you agree that this is BS, at least in the way it is presented?

Oh yah, space is hostile to life. So are any destination planets they have in mind.

Like others are saying one fungus can wipe out a whole crop. Add to that radiation from solar flares (protective bunkers might exist for the occupants on deep space journeys but what about the garden)?

zzzttt... fried

A small fire or loss of atmosphere due to meteoroid impact might do it too.

What else?



posted on Feb, 9 2017 @ 11:47 AM
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a reply to: seasonal

I first thought you were being sarcastic. No NASA doesn't grow food out of thin air, anyone knows this is impossible. You really didn't get that this is a semantic thing?

They spray the plants with "nutrient rich water", it's not like the plant gets all its nutrients from the air.......


edit on 2/9/2017 by AttentionGrabber because: (no reason given)



posted on Feb, 9 2017 @ 11:49 AM
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originally posted by: seasonal
a reply to: intrptr


NASA-derived aeroponics grows food out of thin air


Understanding of course that nutrient rich water is sprayed on the plants root systems, that most of the 'food' is spice or lefty vegetable matter like salads, this is not protein or carbs... in the long run its complimentary, not primary food stuffs.

Show me the hydroponic cattle compartment...



posted on Feb, 9 2017 @ 11:51 AM
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Well from where I sit, we have sent our talent, our resources to fight imaginary sports competitions and brown nose other nations and companies while allowing the MILLIONS of people who could be taught and who " some " are already talented enough but maybe not in the right tax bracket to get to the colleges or companies that NASA even graces with their presence.

We've failed , simply because we haven't even really tried.

If we want to goto space, it will take a planet's population to do it, not a handful of arrogant, deep pockets or good networked people, that's how we got into this mess of inequality in the 1st place.

Just keep throwing away the Number 1 resource we have, our population, less food they will need in space, might be able to make plants work for a few hundred.



posted on Feb, 9 2017 @ 11:56 AM
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originally posted by: seasonal
a reply to: AttentionGrabber

Human waste


This is not a selfsustaining cycle. Also do they have a system on board the ISS to process all their waste to make it suitable for use with aeroponics?

No.

Just another thing that would have to be hauled up there and installed and then it still wouldn't be selfsustaining.


edit on 2/9/2017 by AttentionGrabber because: (no reason given)




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