Space wheat, peas, onions and lettuce… dreams of planting your own food in space have taken a huge leap forward. And it’s all thanks to a small step by a clever new system.
How do you grow something in space when there’s no gravity, electromagnetic field or sunlight? For more than 50 years, scientists from different countries have been trying their best to solve the problem. Some experiments were even somewhat successful. But now, for the first time, we have a way to grow a large amount of vegetables in space at once.
It’s all in the tubes
“A vitamin space greenhouse” is how they refer to ‘Vitacikl-T’ - a titanium tube setup that allows a conveyor-belt system to grow vegetables aboard the International Space Station. It was developed after Russia lost its own ‘Lada’ greenhouse in 2016: its modified version then made it into orbit, before blowing up together with the Progress spacecraft.