In Chinese mythology, there is a osmanthus tree on the moon that cannot be cut down. And rigorous science tells humans that the lunar environment is currently not planting any plants from the Earth. However, for the Chinese who have the “planting talent”, this reality needs to be slightly updated – on the back of the silent moon, in the sealed canister of the “Chang’e IV” detector, a cotton shoot sprouts out of the ground.
The tank has the air, moisture, soil and temperature it needs, and the light pipes on the cover absorb the natural light from the moon. It is in this “greenhouse” that the tender cotton seedlings become the first green leaves cultivated by humans on the moon.
The orchid is finally open.
In addition to the Martian Damon’s Martian potatoes in the movie, human space cultivation has previously occurred in orbiting spacecraft.
Plants have always been important players in the process of human exploration of space. Plants or seeds are frequent visitors to the spacecraft before Gagarin enters space. Since 1946, the seeds of corn, rye, and cotton have all gone through the sky. Plant seeds go to space for a circle, a bit like the practice of putting ordinary crabs into Yangcheng Lake to swim into Yangcheng Lake hairy crabs, but there is still a difference in essence.
The special environment of space, such as high radiation and weightlessness, can induce mutations in seed genes, and they may be able to grow better crops when they return to Earth. The results of the mutations are very random. Whether it meets the requirements depends on luck. In 1971, the US “Apollo 14” spacecraft flew 24 rounds around the moon with 500 trees, but the tree that grew on the earth did not have anything to do with it. The difference.
This way of “gold plating” to space does not meet the demand. Compared with the evolution of research species, food supply is the most direct human soul demand that will eventually enter the depths of space. After all, transportation costs are too high, you can’t imagine Starship takeaway.
The early space foods were not good, and they were packed into toothpaste to let the astronauts lick the mouth, which had an impact on the astronauts’ physical and mental health. Gagarin went to space with three tubes of “toothpaste” – two tubes of meat and a tube of coffee. Later, Vodka also went to the sky. When the Soviet and American astronauts shook hands in space for the first time, the Soviet astronauts sent a piped vodka to the American astronauts to meet.
In 1975, the Soviet Union began experimenting with growing crops such as wheat, onions, oats, peas, kale, radishes and lettuce in spacecraft. They sent the tulip that was about to bloom to the “Salute No. 6” space station, planted in a small centrifuge that can produce artificial gravity, and see how it blooms, so as to bring a little spring to the place where the season change is unknown.
However, until the summer, the flower garden has no meaning to open. At the time, the Tass news agency reported: “The tulip plant is nearly half a meter long, but the flower is not open.”
Unsuccessful scientists sent the already blooming orchids to the space station, but as soon as the orchids arrived in space, they immediately faded. It was not until two years later that the orchid was finally in full bloom on the modified “Salute 7” of the centrifuge – it was not related to gravity.
Also in the 1982 “Salute 7” space station, the slender Arabidopsis blossomed out of white flowers. This is the first time humans have completed the cultivation experiment of Arabidopsis plants from seeds to seeds in space.
The real large-scale space planting test is on the “Mir” space station. In 1990, the Soviet Union and Bulgaria cooperated to build an automated space greenhouse Svet, and carried out cultivation experiments on four seasons of radish and cabbage in the Mir station. Later, Russia worked with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and Utah State University to upgrade Svet.
From 1995 to 1997, Russia and the United States carried out a full life cycle iterative culture of ultra-dwarf wheat and turnip from seeds to seeds in the converted greenhouse. Interestingly, the wheat is only 13 cm tall, and each ear has no ear, but returns to the ground and shows its original character.
NASA scientist Joa Massa believes that plants are very adaptable, and they are forced to do so – they don’t have long legs and can’t run. Ultra-short wheat proves this in a seamless manner.
“Don’t trust an astronaut”
For the astronauts of the International Space Station, August 10, 2015 was a historic day. The second batch of red leaf lettuce planted in July was harvested on this day and they tasted the first bite.
American astronaut Sher Lindling first wiped the leaves with disinfectant wipes, then poured the virgin olive oil and Italian balsamic vinegar from the small bottles onto the lettuce leaves and sent them to the entrance devoutly.
He closed his eyes and chewed slowly, savoring the smell and taste of the lettuce, and felt that the entire mouth was awakened. “Great, delicious to fly.” You know, it’s not easy to eat a fresh food in space. Although the taste of space food is not bad, fresh has beaten everything.
As another hegemon in space, the United States also started plant cultivation experiments very early. In the 1970s, NASA conducted a rice cultivation experiment at its first space station, the Sky Lab, to study plant growth under the influence of gravity and light. As a result, almost all rice grows up, but it is affected by microgravity, and the growth direction is irregular, which seems to be a claw.
In 1998, the International Space Station began construction. It was built by a number of countries and used jointly. In 2014, the US space greenhouse Veggie was developed and delivered to the International Space Station in April of that year.
Also sent together are three “pillows” (cultivating substrates), two containing red leaf lettuce seeds and one containing zinnia seeds. The red leaf lettuce that Shear Lindgren eats is cultivated from here.
Veggie has light sources, nourishment, soil, moisture and water guiding facilities. Because of the weight loss, the water will not ooze into the soil, and the roots of the plants will not be able to grow in a direction, and the “pillows” will cure these dissatisfaction.
On November 16, 2015, Shel Lindgren launched the planting trial of Zinnia. Planting flowers in space is more complicated than growing vegetables, because flowers are more stringent in controlling environmental parameters, as can be seen from experiments with tulip and orchids in the Soviet Union.
On February 14, 2016, it was a special day, and Shel Lindgren and her colleagues harvested a bunch of colorful flowers. Due to the unexpected growth of fungi, the growth period of Zinnia was 90 days, one month longer than expected.
Scott Kelly was happy, and the boring space life finally got new members. He took a photo of the flower and said it was the first flower in space. Some reporters believed it.
This is an astronaut who did not do his homework seriously. Scientist Mika McKinnon said: “We have learned three things: First, don’t believe in an astronaut; second, everyone likes flowers; Third, we have planted many plants in space!”
Space needs garden
In “Three-body”, Yun Tianming walked through the wheat field, probably the most relaxed moment for the reader. He used his fingers to lick the shell of a wheat and threw the grain into his mouth. It was an idyllic poem. In “Mars Rescue”, Mark is very anxious because potatoes are not enough to eat.
The imagination of science fiction works is so big that it is still very pragmatic in eating this. Years of experiments have shown that rice, wheat and potatoes are very suitable for space planting.
In the movie “Gravity”, there is a green plant in China’s “Tiangong” space station, which is considered to be rice or wheat. Apart from the fact that the space station has not yet been built, the plant part is almost realistic.
On the Mid-Autumn Festival night in 2016, the “Tiangong-2” space laboratory was successfully launched. There are two “astronauts” – rice and Arabidopsis, the former is a typical food crop and the latter is a model plant. They completed the full lifecycle culture of the plant from seed to seed for a period of six months, which is the first time in our country.
In the lunar biological test, in addition to cotton, there are five kinds of organisms in the “Chang’e IV” load tank: potatoes, rapeseed, Arabidopsis, fruit flies and yeast. Potatoes, cotton, and rapeseed represent grain, cotton, and oil, respectively, which are the basic needs of human survival.
At the same time, the lettuce, onion, soybean, tomato, pea, zucchini, turnip and other plants that have become experimental products have basically met the following conditions: the plant is short and can save space; the planting is simple; the processing is simple, because it should be It is not allowed to bring the pot to the sky; the disease resistance is strong.
NASA is very disgusted with the body’s excrement. In order to make the astronauts less fart, they have also pulled the beans into the blacklist. This is obviously very unfriendly to astronauts. Planting in space is not only for eating, but also for oxygen production. They can also accompany astronauts on the way, giving them a little spiritual sustenance.
American astronaut Dorn Petit of the International Space Station said in his diary that other astronauts are even willing to help filter the filter in order to get close to the zucchini. They said: “If we go to Mars, we need a garden.”