NASA relies on permanent space truss

Give astronaut bag of food, and he will eat for a whole day. But teach him how to grow food in space, and you feed him for always - or at least during the 6-month mission to the International Space Station. NASA is engaged in food issues from the very first mission, trying to feed astronauts and home, on Earth and in the sky, the International Space Station. Over the years, the administration of the agency tried to take a variety of approaches: John Glenn got mashed beef and vegetarian pasta; other flight crew used the latest freeze drying technology. Not so long ago, NASA decided that the astronauts could grow their own food on board yourself.

NASA relies on permanent space truss

Brian Oneyt, Space Center engineer them. Kennedy, engaged in the development of appropriate technologies. With it, the first system of growing plants in Veggie space was built, and next month it will send a new, improved version of Veggie - Advanced Plant Habitat.

By the size of the farm as a mini-fridge. But instead of storing soda, she would carefully record every step in the growth of plants on board the space station. This will enable researchers in the world to get a deep understanding of how plants change under the influence of microgravity and other forces in the cosmos. And as Oneyt says, "the astronauts will be able to enjoy the fruits of our labor." Although small, the new environment 180 is equipped with three sensors and cameras. The sensors will record data on temperature, humidity and oxygen. Cameras - one of which is an infra-red - will provide an understanding of what is happening on the farm. All data processed by the computer called "Farmer" (PHARMER).

NASA relies on permanent space truss

With the exception of the installation, the system must work with very small amounts of input data and reduce the astronomical costs of transporting the products to the power station. Currently, the cost of starting a pound of food to the orbit is more than 10 000 dollars. In addition, the products remain fresh for long. Those tomatoes em a week or two, not more. But if you send seeds to the ISS, the astronauts will be able to pamper yourself with fresh vegetables all the time.

One of the breakthrough innovations farm became its light. The sun radiates about 2000 micromoles to Earth. New Farm NASA emits 1000 half of photosynthetically active radiation of the sun. This is an important source of light for the plants which need light to grow. But it does not get to the space station, because, like the rest of the space station is always covered with darkness. NASA scientists plan to test the red, green, blue and white spectrum of different intensities of light to determine the best incentives for the growth of plants.

NASA relies on permanent space truss

In the end, this plant habitat is largely a research project than a normal space truss. But Oneyt sees this as the first step to a great mission, whose purpose - to allow a person to live independently outside the planet. "In the future, on Mars, if we colonize it, the resources will be in the price," he says. We must learn to grow plants on a regular basis, and we have only begun to understand it.