Vegetables Grown in Space Deemed Safe For Human Consumption

Vegetables Grown in Space Deemed Safe For Human Consumption

Russian scientists have verified that plants grown in the International Space Station are safe to eat.

When we finally set out to explore and colonize the universe for realsies, we're going to need food to eat on those long voyages into the unknown - and there's only so much astronaut ice cream a spaceship can carry. Future astronauts are going to have to grown their own food in space, and the first step is making sure space-grown food is fit for human consumption. Now, Russian scientists have done just that, deeming that a slew of vegetables grown in the International Space Station are safe to eat.

Margarita Levinskikh of the Institute of Biological Problems, told The Voice of Russia that the vegetables, which included peas, dwarf wheat and Japanese leafy greens, looked (and tasted) great. "The plants have been very developed, absolutely normal and did not differ a lot from the plants grown on Earth," she told the radio station.

"We have also gotten experience with the astronauts and cosmonauts eating the fresh food they grow and not having problems," crop scientist Bruce Bugbee added, in an email to Popular Science.

On board the ISS, vegetables are grown in a special greenhouse model named "Lada," after the Russian goddess of spring. Lada has it's own detachable "root modules," which contain enough nutrients to bear several generations of crops. When depleted, the modules are sent back to Earth, where biologists examine them to see if any harmful microbes have grown. They also check the modules and the plants' leaves for contaminants which may come from the space station's environment.

Lada is currently being repaired, but the next time they send it up there, astronauts will plant it with rice, tomatoes and bell peppers, none of which have been grown in space before.

Source: Popular Science, The Voice of Russia

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That's cool, and obviously necessary to further everyone's space programs, but I have one issue with it;

Clearly, the "harmful microbes" in the depleted nutrient stores will be sent back to Earth for study, and on opening will create an outbreak of zombies. Space zombies.

"sent back to Earth, where biologists examine them to see if any harmful microbes have grown." A great idea, lets send the potentially harmful microbes back to earth. Why cant we just test them in space? Send micro-biologists to investigate/examine the modules, or just send the data down. I'm all for checking the contaminants.

This seems like asking for a risk of mutant space microbes taking over the earth. Not that I think it is likely or even possible. But exposing things to more space radiation is how we got the fantastic four. Now imagine them in microbe form. Talk about hard to stop! Invisible microbes! Microbes that burn down rainforests! Ones that look like dust, um well you get the idea.

Very developed. Much normal. Wow.

OT: It's another cool step on the path to galactic domination. :)

No pictures of produce or crops? Aaaaw
I for one am interested how low gravity effected plant formation
When it comes to tomatoes they better have photos of them >:(

moggett88:
-snip-

Geoffrey Francis:
-snip-

You both do realise that the samples would be kept isolated as possible, if only to make sure the plants were weren't infected by earth based microbes which could render the entire experiment void.

Besides it wouldn't be zombies, it would be along the lines of the Evolution movie.

would the lack of gravity not be a problem ?

alj:
would the lack of gravity not be a problem ?

I don't think plants really "notice" gravity as much as animals do. Fairly certain that as along as you put the Lights on the "Ceiling" and the Plants on the "Floor" then the latter would grow towards the former anyway.

Ed130:

You both do realise that the samples would be kept isolated as possible

Obviously, It's the "isolated as possible" bit that I was thinking about. That one small chance for an invisible/elastic microbe to slip out of the lab on earth and devastate the local flora/fauna, which wouldn't be able to compete against such an intelligent foe. Why take the risk? Do they not have the tools to examine specimens on the space-station? Do the tests not work in microgravity?

alj:
would the lack of gravity not be a problem ?

I'm guessing not as much as it would be for animals, plants being more sturdy in general. Even in earth gravity, the direction of a light source can have a significant effect on how a plant grows, so I'd assume that would be the bigger factor.

Geoffrey Francis:

Ed130:

You both do realise that the samples would be kept isolated as possible

Obviously, It's the "isolated as possible" bit that I was thinking about. That one small chance for an invisible/elastic microbe to slip out of the lab on earth and devastate the local flora/fauna, which wouldn't be able to compete against such an intelligent foe. Why take the risk? Do they not have the tools to examine specimens on the space-station? Do the tests not work in microgravity?

It costs quite a bit to send material up into space and some forms of DNA analysis require gravity to work.

Besides, enough crap from the moon has been brought back by the Apollo programs to render any such argument moot? All this is is just plants (from Earth I might add) that have been grown in space. And what about all the astronauts and cosmonauts? should they be kept in airtight tubes due to the effect of space on them?

(fun fact: The first few astronauts of the Apollo program that walked on the moon did to go into isolation due the possibility of unknown bacteria on the moon, when tests revealed nothing could survive there they stopped doing it from Apollo 14 onwards)
image
Apollo 11 crew inside a quarantine capsule

lancar:

OT: It's another cool step on the path to galactic domination. :)

Just what I was thinking.

"Institute of Biological Problems"
That's a vague and threatening title for a Russian institute

Next on the list: Artificial Gravity

(hopefully developed by someone whose never so much as glanced at Dragonball Z).

Geoffrey Francis:

Ed130:

You both do realise that the samples would be kept isolated as possible

Obviously, It's the "isolated as possible" bit that I was thinking about. That one small chance for an invisible/elastic microbe to slip out of the lab on earth and devastate the local flora/fauna, which wouldn't be able to compete against such an intelligent foe. Why take the risk? Do they not have the tools to examine specimens on the space-station? Do the tests not work in microgravity?

I'm not sure what you're getting at here. The 'harmful microbes' in question are going to be present due to contamination, and will have come from earth. That means if it were the kind of devastating blight you're envisaging, it would have already fucked us sideways because it's already here.

Scars Unseen:

alj:
would the lack of gravity not be a problem ?

I'm guessing not as much as it would be for animals, plants being more sturdy in general. Even in earth gravity, the direction of a light source can have a significant effect on how a plant grows, so I'd assume that would be the bigger factor.

Gravity actually does very much affect both root and shoot growth. More info: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gravitropism

Hence why NASA bothered to investigate plant growth in low gravity to begin with.

As for whether or not the lack of gravity actually is an issue... Apparently not? At least not to such a degree that the plant doesn't even grow. I'd have to find and read the findings of the aformentioned space tests to really say but I'm lazy right now :S

this is very cool and very good. this means that we can create natural replenishing food sources in space whether it be space station or moon base. therefore, making us less dependent on constant transports from earth.

Stupidity:

"Institute of Biological Problems"
That's a vague and threatening title for a Russian institute

In soviet russia, microbes research you.

 

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