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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.
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.”
originally posted by: seasonal
a reply to: AttentionGrabber
Yep I watched the video, I would imagine the nutrients would come from human waste
Ultimately, the habitat is more of a research project than a bonafide space farm. But Onate sees it as the first step in a larger mission to make human life sustainable off-world. "In the future, on Mars, if we colonize out there, resources are a premium," he says. The key will be finding a way to manage plant growth long-term, in settings we've only just begun to understand.
As NASA gears up for its proposed manned missions to Mars in 2030, the space administration’s Advanced Food Technology (AFT) project is ensuring that the crew will have a completely vegan diet of fresh fruits, vegetables and even live plants. We’ve long been familiar with the traditional astronauts’ fare of liquid meals and freeze-dried food stuffs—oh, and Tang—but when considering plans to send astronauts further afield and beyond the reach of supply vessels, the AFT has found it must create healthier space-meals and methods to grow food in zero-gravity.