NASA has been conducting experiments on how plants can be grown in low gravity environments, and under one such study, NASA has been able to grow radishes in the Columbus Module of the International Space Station.
This is the latest of the experiments that are aimed at studying plants growing in microgravity. With aim of heading to Mars and the Moon, future astronauts may need some fresh source of food when they are far away from home. Being able to grow plants in low gravity planets might be a big deal for these astronauts.
Growing plants in microgravity is a challenge in itself as there is no gravity to hold the plants in the soil. The plants are grown in the ‘pillows’ that help them evenly distribute the fertilizer and water to the roots.
These experiments are giving scientists better ideas on how to refine their research and better understand how to grow plants in space.
Radishes were chosen because they have a short cultivation period, and are similar to Arabidopsis, the most frequently studied plant in space. The plantation is happening in the Advanced Plant Habitat in Columbus Module, which is a growth chamber requiring very little intervention from astronauts.
The current harvest will be ready anytime soon and the samples will be sent back to Earth for further study.