Thursday, November 11, 2010

ESA greenhouse in space

It’s small, but it’s a greenhouse for space voyagers – and for you. Paolo Nespoli will take a special greenhouse with him to the International Space Station and he’s inviting young science enthusiasts to conduct an experiment with him.

Growing plants in space will be crucial for the astronauts of the future. When flying to Mars or even further, it will be necessary to produce fresh food onboard and become partially self-sufficient.

Setting up greenhouses on the Moon, Mars or other planetary bodies will also be an important part of future exploration missions.

Greenhouses also provide oxygen and bring some life to the bleakness of space. Caring for plants is a good way to maintain memories of Earth and an enjoyable way to pass time during the long and possibly boring interplanetary cruise.

ESA astronaut Paolo Nespoli during the STS-120 mission. Nespoli holds a scale model of Node 2, also known as Harmony.

The Italian-built Node 2 module was added to the International Space Station during the mission's second spacewalk.

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