NASA plans to grow lettuce in international space station

Living off of freeze-dried, tightly packed food for months and even years is definitely not one of the perks of being an astronaut. But NASA is now making headway to help get astronauts freshly grown food.

The program is called Vegetable Production System, or Veggie for short. Its goal is to provide a sustainable method of growing safe and nutritious food in space. (Via NASA)

Here it is: the vegginator, our title, not theirs. It’s actually called Veggie. Requiring about 115 watts of power, it uses a bright pink LED light to help plants to grow up to 45 centimeters high. (Via NASA)

In December, Veggie will hit the International Space Station equipped with functioning planters filled with six romaine lettuce plants. Under the lights, the plants will be harvested in just 28 days. (Via Gizmodo)

Oh, and Veggie isn’t the first to test out space gardening. The possibility of growing zero-gravity lettuce actually started with this blog, Diary of a Space Zucchini, written by Don Pettit, and yep, you guessed it — that is a little baby zucchini sprout.(Via NASA)

This type of sustainability is not only important for the health of men and woman out in the great unknown, but possibly for humankind.

Modern Farmer writes: “That little plant could be the key to our future. If — as some doomsday scientists predict — we eventually exhaust the Earth’s livability, space farming will prove vital to the survival of our species.”

Not only that, but astronaut food can be pricey, costing about $10,000 per pound to send to the ISS.

NASA’s not the only organization working on growing food outside of Earth. The Mars Society is testing greenhouses in the Utah desert, which is similar terrain to Mars.

If Veggie is successful, tomatoes, radishes and snap peas might be up next on the menu. (Via Wikimedia Commons / tooony / Daderot / Brianga)

One more added benefit to space gardening: maintaining sanity, minimizing boredom among astronauts. Because floating around for months at a time has got to get boring.

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