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Growing plants in space for 10 years

Humans have now been growing plants on the International Space Station for 10 years. By these experiments, researchers develop technology and know-how to allow future space explorers to grow their own food.

For long term missions in space, there is a need for oxygen, water and food. Plants represent a key to these requirements, and will be a critical part of future space ships and human habitats on the Moon or Mars.

Plants are affected by gravity, and we need extensive research to be able to grow plants efficiently in space. This is the basis for the European Modular Cultivation Chamber (EMCS), a small experimental greenhouse on the International Space Station. The EMCS was installed in 2006. It is being operated by the Norwegian User Support and Operations Centre (N-USOC) in Trondheim and has made possible a large number of valuable plant experiments over the last 10 years.

Currently, the Horizon 2020 research project TIME SCALE is developing next-generation technology and know-how for plant cultivation in space - for the EMCS and beyond.

Read the full Norwegian article on the web-site of Norwegian Space Centre.

July 10, 2016. Photo: ESA.