[] [] [index]

                                                  PLANTS IN SPACE

It is evident that the earth's resources will be consumed ultimately, even if global warming does not make life here impossible in the foreseeable future.  We cannot continue to use the mineral resources at the present rate for ever, even if we do find a way to sustain animal and vegetable life.  For life as we know it to be established anywhere else, plants will be required. This notion has prompted much research by many scientists to establish the effects of zero gravity, and artificial nutrients, and lighting on plant growth. A  quick scan of the internet produces dozens of sites describing current research.  For example, the European Space Agency (ESA) site describes one of their projects:

'Historically, vine growing has always played a vital part of everyday human life. In fact, archaeological findings have managed to date vine growing to as far back as 5600 B.C. It is fascinating if we imagine vines accompanying men and women into the future too. The aim of the VINO experiment is to test the survival and growth in space of tendril grafts from vines coming from vineyards in Tuscany, Italy.'

They go on to explain how the tendrils will be launched into space and left to grow in the International Space Station, before being returned to earth for further growth comparison studies.

'This experiment could provide useful results regarding plant survival in future long duration space flights such as in the human exploration of Mars,' concludes the author. Who knows, if global warming continues, there could be even more vineyards  near Abingdon long before those on Mars!

There are also various experiments being conducted by NASA on the growth of plants in space.

The Nasa education site has a useful article about some of the experiments.