Asteroid Soil Could Fertilise Farms in Space



OK, so we’re not quite ready to supply horizontal storage tanks and vertical storage tanks for farms in space just yet and we don’t think there will be a huge demand for rainwater tanks either, but an interesting article in New Scientist details how there is enough fertilizer zipping around in space to grow crops for generations of space colonisers and can be found on asteroids. It also examines how a recent project has managed to create an environment that will allow for crops and plants to germinate and grow healthily in space.

With Japan’s recent launch of Hayabusa 2 which aims to return a sample from carbon-rich asteroid 1999 JU3 and with astronauts spending more and more time in space, long human missions will require the company of plants, according to Bratislav Stankovic from the University of Information Science and Technology in Ohrid, Macedonia.

Stankovic noted that, just as gravity influences human bodies, plants also seemed to struggle with micro-gravity. But along with colleagues from the University of Winconsin-Madison, a capsule has been developed that enables two generations of seeds to successfully grow on the International Space Station. The capsule controls soil moisture, light, temperature, humidity and levels of carbon dioxide and ethylene, the plant hormone released when they begin to ripen. A mesh holds down a base of fertilised gravel that allows plants to spread their roots. Within the capsule 92 per cent of seeds produced from its plants germinated and with grown on the ISS and others back on Earth.

So interesting development and certainly food for thought, as well as food for future generations who farm in space and use Enduramaxx storage tanks throughout the galaxy.

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