The microgravity LilyPond growth chamber uses capillary action to provide a stable water surface on which duckweed (and potentially other veggies, like microgreens) can grow. LED panels provide an efficient light source, and a salad spinner-like sieve helps separate the water from the plants when ready to harvest. (Credits: Space Lab Technologies)
Duckweed: it’s what’s for dinner
by Nicole QuenelleNASA Armstrong Flight Research Center
EDWARDS, Calif. — It’s no surprise to most of us that regularly eating fresh produce is a great way to support a healthy diet. Fresh fruits and vegetables benefit astronauts on the International Space Station, too – and soon the Moon and beyond. Scientists are investigating sustainable ways to grow highly nutritious foods in microgravity, to give space explorers a readily available supply of daily greens.
On an upcoming flight facilitated by the Flight Opportunities program, part of NASA’s Space Technology Mission Directorate, Space Lab Technologies will test their microgravity LilyPond, a hydroponic chamber for growing edible aquatic plants in space.
Along with several other technologies selected for testing, LilyPond will launch on Blue Origin’s next New Shepard mission. The payloads will fly to space and experience several minutes of microgravity before returning to Earth, ...