An International Space Station crew member performs the first planting of a plant in space despite it being “risky”

In a major “breakthrough” for the plant research program at the International Space Station (ISS), the first plant transplant took place 400 kilometers above the ground at the International Space Station’s Vegetable Production System (Veggie) facility. According to NASA’s January 29 statement about “a boon for the future of space crop production,” astronaut Mike Hopkins recently noticed that some plants were not present at the station, and thus, carried out the first plant transplant inside the organization. The US space agency also explained that NASA is looking into crop production because plants could be useful in providing nutrients to the crew aboard the International Space Station.

“NASA astronaut Mike Hopkins recently noticed some plants failing to thrive on board the station, so he performed the first plant transplant inside the agency’s Vegetable Production System (Veggie). NASA is looking at crop production in space because plants can provide,” she said in a statement. Feeders for astronaut crews on long-term missions, such as the mission to Mars. “

Hopkins was on the crew of Flight 64 and arrived at the International Space Station on a six-month mission aboard the SpaceX Crew-1 mission. NASA explained that it was grazing different types of mustard and lettuce in VEG-031, one of two vegetarian experiments currently growing in orbit. That was when he noticed how mustard was growing naturally in the “pillows” but the lettuce did not grow. On January 14, Hopkins, with input from the Veggie program scientists in Kennedy, transplanted additional buds of thriving plant pads into two distressed “pillows” containing growth media and a clay-based fertilizer.

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Why was no transplant attempted earlier?

NASA said the technology used by the Expedition 64 crew is “risky” even for plants on Earth. Therefore, the US Space Agency said it had not yet tested the International Space Station stations until Hopkins took the step earlier this month. “The transplants -” red Russian kale “and” extra dwarf “Pak Choi – are still alive and growing alongside donors Kale and Pak Choi. The remaining red romaine lettuce and” wasabi “mustard in the experiment are also ready for harvest.” . However, he also acknowledged that botanists at Kennedy University do not yet have an answer as to why some lettuce did not grow as it did in previous experiments.

“On Earth, this transplantation technique is risky for plants in this delicate state, and NASA has never attempted it in a space experiment.” NASA said.

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