Flowers Growing in Space? How are NASA’s Astronauts Doing It?

Arabidopsis thaliana! This plant became the first full life cycle to happen in space – Salyut 7 during the 80s.

Astonishing, overwhelming, or surprised?

Well, recently NASA shared information about how architectural fungus could be a secret for habitation on planet Mars.

Are we moving to Mars?

Well, it’s no longer a question of whether humans will go to Mars, but when. By the time we reach the second planet, it will probably be after a decade, maybe in the 2030s. But will humans survive a life beyond Earth?

From Martha Ackmann’s‘The Mercury 13’ to Andy Weir’s ‘The Martian’…. Have you thought about life in space?

It is said that planet Mars is cold and dry, however, the gravitational field of 38 percent projects to be stronger than Earth. A great reason why Mars could be the next planet for humans to survive.

January 2019

Tiny green plants were seen sprouted on the moon. The plants might have arrived with Chang’e 4, a Chinese spacecraft that landed on the side that never turns toward Earth. This was the first-ever landing to have taken place in history.

The seeds of this plant came from the comfort of one’s home – air, water, soil, and the temperature for the plant to grow. When they were nestled together, the seedlings demonstrated a miniature forest – this was like a hint of life in a barren land. However, after a week they all died.

This was because the lunar set is, and there was no proper sunlight. The temperature plummeted to -52 Celsius. And since the sprouts weren’t designed to resist the temperature, they eventually froze and died.

The outer space as we imagine isn’t kind to plants nor people or at the most the living things. Except for maybe tardigrades. Tardigrades are microscopic creatures that look like tiny bears.

The experiment made by China was marked first to record a biological matter that has been growing on the moon. NASA may refer to it as “defecation collection devices.”

But plants have always been an inhabitant of space for several years now. All it needs is a little attention and care as compared to its terrestrial peers.

Arabidopsis thaliana

According to scientists, this was the plant species that were chosen for practical reasons. Arabidopsis thaliana is a white flower, also called a fruit fly of plant science by these scientists.

Arabidopsis-thaliana growing in ISS
Source: NASA

Perhaps you can now say that there are plants that can grow in space. The International Space Station is the first humankind laboratory that grows plants above the earth’s surface. These plants are cultivated inside chambers that are specially equipped with special lights, a substitute for the sun.

The seeds are planted using nutrient-rich substances, these substances resemble a cat’s litter but they’re strewn with fertilizer pellets. Since there’s no natural water to flow, it is being administered in a manner where the plants get a sufficient amount of water in its roots. At times during microgravity, gases tend to coalesce into bubbles, thus pushing the air around to keep the carbon dioxide and oxygen’s flow in place.

The chamber inside the International Space Station is the size of a mini-fridge with precise sensors embedded inside. The only thing astronauts need to do is to add water and keep changing the filters. The rest of the manipulation can be taken care of by the scientists on the ground. From temperature adjustments to maintaining the right check on the humidity levels of carbon dioxide and oxygen.

According to Gioia Massa, a scientist at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center who studies plants in microgravity says, “plants don’t really care about the gravity so much if you can get the environment right.

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