The hydroponics, which had its expansion in the early 70s in order to increase productivity and growing in adverse geographical locations, has a long way to go. Some advances in the hydroponic systems has been made recently at the last frontier: space.
At the International Space Station (ISS), water and food are limited resources affected by the cost, transport time and storage. The hydroponic systems guarantee a saving in the water consumption, along with the storage of fresh vegetables in space. Also, the possibility of feeding and surrounding themselves with vegetables increase the physical and psychological well-being of astronauts.
Last October, a Japanese variant of lettuce was germinated in the hydroponic system of the ISS and after 28 days of growing, the plant was ready for the study of its nutritional value. Previously and that same month, China managed to grow a cotton plant in a hydroponic minibiosphere located in the surface of the Moon.
Growing lettuce at the International Space Station (Image: NASA)
These triumphs in space hydroponics not only open the door to self-sustainability in void space or barren planets like Mars, but also to new developments in Earth hydroponic systems. With the investigation of the feasibility of crops in the most extreme environments, we can also ensure a more efficient and capable hydroponic on Earth.