NASA Mission for Astronauts to Grow in Space

NASA is sending a new self-sufficient plant growth system to the International Space Station (ISS) that will help prepare astronauts to grow their own food during deep-space exploration missions.

The new plant system will join Veggie — NASA’s first fresh food growth system already active on ISS.

The Advanced Plant Habitat will be used to conduct plant bioscience research on the space station.

Arabidopsis seeds, small flowering plants related to cabbage and mustard, have been growing in the prototype habitat, and will be the first plant experiment, called PH-01, grown in the chamber aboard the space station.

The new plant habitat is a fully enclosed, closed-loop system with an environmentally controlled growth chamber.

It uses red, blue and green LED lights, and broad spectrum white LED lights. The system’s more than 180 sensors will relay real-time information, including temperature, oxygen content and moisture levels (in the air and soil, near the plant roots, and at the stem and leaf level), back to Station at Kennedy Space Centre.