from thelocal.no: A team of scientists in Norway are set to research the
possibility of growing plants and food crops in outer space, it was
revealed on Friday.
A new EU-funded research project is set to ‘take-off’ researching
how food plants grow in space and how the horticulture could supply
space travellers with oxygen and food.
The 10-year project
called TIME SCALE will be led by Ann-Iren Kittang Jost, research chief
at the Centre for Interdisciplinary Research in Space (CIRiS) at the
Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) in Trondheim.
The research team has not yet decided what plants they will try and grow, but are looking at tomatoes, lettuce and soybeans.
The Trondheim research unit has been trying to grow plants in space
since 2006. Under the Norwegian research team’s guidance, plant growing
experiments were carried out at the International Space Station (ISS).
The research focused on the flowering weed, Arabidopsis thaliana.
It is a complex journey of investigation for the scientists who must
learn about the interaction of the plants to their new, very different
“One of the big challenges is to administer
exactly the right amount of water and nutrients to the plants in such
little gravity,” said Kittang Jost to Science Nordic.
Researchers from the MELISSA space program believe a closed ecosystem
can be fully functional in space by 2050. With this goal in mind, the
Norwegian researchers’ work is a critical part of giving space explorers
the means to survive and eat in a self-sustaining fashion, many
thousands of miles away from Earth.
SOURCE: The Local