Several studies are being conducted to understand the feasibility of growing plants in space. Scientists have developed a system on the International Space Station to study the effect of microgravity on plants. The system is called Veggie. It is basically a space garden aboard the laboratory in the low Earth orbit. Scientists have now discovered novel bacterial strains aboard the ISS. The new strains suggest the possibility of growing vegetables in space. Any discovery towards this will be a milestone in arranging fresh food for the astronauts while they are in space. The study was conducted by researchers from the Jet Propulsion Laboratory and the University of Hyderabad.
The latest bacterial strains were discovered by researchers from different locations aboard the ISS flights. The three new strains belong to the family Methylobacteriaceae. Researchers have named the strains Methylobacterium ajmalii. The genome analysis found the presence of genes. These genes are important in the growth of plants. The study said that strains also have biotechnologically genetic determinants. This will help plants to grow even in places with low resources. Researchers said that further experiments are needed to validate the findings. The discovery could be a game-changer for space farming because growing food will pave the way for astronauts to stay in space and conduct studies.
Cultivating crops and vegetables in space will also adding fresh eatables to astronauts’ diet. Astronauts will no longer require carrying food with themselves when they travel to space. Fresh food will provide the required nutrition and enhance their well-being. It will help NASA to further advance its plan to send humans deep into space and also to Mars for exploration. The current Veggie system aboard the ISS has plant pillows. It works by placing a seed in these special bags. These pillows carry space dirt and fertilizer is released. The roots grow inside the pillows and the stem emerges out. Then red and blue LED lights are set for photosynthesis. This helps plants to grow.