WHAT’S THE POINT OF GROWING PLANTS IN SPACE?

Astronauts on the International Space Station have been growing plants for years as a potential source of food while in space. But are there any benefits for terrestrial gardeners? Growing a perfect vegetable garden with plump tomatoes and perky peas – is tough enough. Now imagine an environment where there’s no night or day, where seeds and soil float off into the air, and where water poots in weird ways rather than flowing freely. The challenges of growing plants in space are such that one wonders whether there’s any point to it at all. Benefits of Gardening in Space But far from being an outlandish idea, space gardening is a flourishing area of scientific research with many benefits for us here on Earth. In recent years, scientists have discovered that more than 100 plant varieties – from cabbages to tulips-could grow well in space. Since 2010, astronauts on the international space station have even been tending their space gardens. They are now eating their hand-grown lettuces, albeit in tiny portions, and have managed to get zinnias to flower in zero gravity. The pros of astronauts are clear: they get fresh food and activity that helps them stave off space-related boredom.

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