Growing food in space: the last frontier

Sure, space travel is great, but there’s no shortage of challenges when it comes to space travel and colonization, primarily having enough oxygen, food, and water. Future space travel is expected to last several months to years, and astronauts will need to maintain healthy diets during those extended trips.

Have you ever wondered how NASA will provide food for astronauts on a really long flight, say to Mars?

Well, USDA Agricultural Research Service scientists are working with NASA to develop sustainable agricultural techniques and technologies to grow fresh produce during spaceflight.

ARS and NASA join forces to monitor Earth’s water supply: ARS scientists have partnered with NASA to use satellites to monitor Earth’s water cycle, specifically “evapotranspiration,” the amount of water It enters the atmosphere through evaporation and transpiration from plants.

Growing Plants in Space: An “Under the Microscope” Interview with Dr. Raymond Wheeler, a Plant Physiologist with NASA’s Exploration Research and Technology Programs at the Kennedy Space Center in Merritt Island, Florida

ARS Scientists Develop Ever-Blooming Fruits to Feed Astronauts – ARS scientists genetically modified plum trees so that they bloom and bear fruit continuously, offering the potential to grow fresh fruit on long-duration space missions.

Nematodes in Space: The Final Frontier for Tiny Worms – Researchers from the ARS Southeast Fruit and Nut Research Station sent beneficial nematodes to the International Space Station to study their use as ecological pest control in space.

Terrestrial Fungus May Hold Key to Farming in Space – ARS scientists have discovered that an airborne fungus dramatically accelerates plant growth.

Watch What You Eat… From Space – ARS researchers are working with NASA to develop a new way for astronauts to keep track of the fresh food they’ll grow on extended space voyages.