According to The Planetary Science Journal published in July, researchers have tested growing lettuce, radishes, peppers in increasing mixtures of simulant and peat moss to check the ability of CI carbonaceous asteroid regolith simulant to sustain plant growth.
Food is the basic thing we require for our survival. We can grow a variety of crops based on the type of soil Earth’s surface has. And now, research and efforts are being done to explore if food can be grown in space. Astronauts stay in space for long in order to complete their mission and find out something new, and they require a proper nutritious diet on a consistent basis to survive. Currently, the way astronauts get food consists of resupplied packaged food from Earth, which is not a good source of nutrition especially for long-term missions. According to The Planetary Science Journal published in July, “Using planetary resources via in situ resource utilization to grow crops is the next step toward sustainability in space.” Asteroids have abundant space resources and can be used to grow crops for astronauts.
The report said, “Asteroids are an abundant space resource and should not be overlooked when considering crewed missions. In particular, the primordial CI carbonaceous asteroids are of interest because the regolith is suggested to contain soluble elemental nutrients, such as phosphorous and potassium, that crops can use for growth and development.” The researchers involved in the study informed via the report that they tested growing lettuce, radishes, peppers in increasing mixtures of simulant and peat moss. The results showed that each species reacted differently to each treatment and that the radishes were more affected by the treatments.
Also Read: Mars, Uranus conjunction today? Know when, where and how to watch rare planetary phenomenon
“We present a study on the ability of CI carbonaceous asteroid regolith simulant to sustain plant growth of lettuce (Latuca sativa), radishes (Raphanus sativus), and peppers (Capsicum annuum). We tested growing the selected crops in increasing mixtures of simulant and peat moss. The results showed that each species reacted differently to each treatment and that the radishes were more affected by the treatments,” the report said.
It further added, “Subsequent analysis showed that the simulant contains small amounts of plant-usable nutrients, despite its high pH, low cation exchange capacity, and classification as a silt-based soil. Our results indicate that the simulant is prone to compaction and crusting, leading to drought stress on the crops. Further investigations are needed to determine mitigation strategies to make CI asteroid regolith a more conducive soil.”