NASA astronaut Michael Hopkins tends to radish plants growing for the Plant Habitat-02 experiment, which evaluates plant growth as well as nutrition and taste of the plants.

In the final two weeks of 2020, crew members aboard the International Space Station conducted dozens of scientific investigations, including studies of how plants grow in microgravity, tissue regeneration, time perception, changes in heart tissue gene expression, and a possible method for removing debris from space.

The astronauts are learning to grow fresh food in space. On long-duration space exploration missions such as to the Moon and Mars, astronauts need to be able to grow nutritious foods to supplement what they can bring from Earth. Plant Habitat-02 examines how radish plants (Raphanus sativus) grow on the space station in different types of light and soils, part of ongoing efforts to produce food in space. This model plant is nutritious, has a short cultivation time, and is genetically similar to Arabidopsis, a plant frequently studied in microgravity. In addition to helping optimize plant growth in space, this research evaluates the nutrition and taste of the plants. Crew members collected leaf samples during these weeks for analysis and tasting.

Image Credit: NASA

NASA宇航员迈克尔·霍普金斯(Michael Hopkins)为植物栖息地-02(Plant Habitat-02)实验准备萝卜类植物,该实验评估植物的生长情况、营养状况和味道。




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