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Growing microgreens in space – How NASA is feeding astronauts using VegBed grow mats

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If you would like to learn more about Dr. Johnson and her research, please join discussion Wednesday, May 25th.

By Albert Lin
May 05, 2022


What are the challenges about growing food in space? Christina M. Johnson, PhD (of NASA’s Kennedy Space Center) was kind enough to share with us some of her current research. We’re very excited about the progress!

Why is it important to get food right for astronauts?

Feeding astronauts isn’t as straightforward as you may think! You can’t just pack some protein bars and call it a day. The vitamins in the pre-packaged food brought up into space degrade over time. NASA currently has a Veggie growing unit (see below) which helps provide some of the vitamins and minerals for the astronauts.

Is there a way to increase the nutritional density of what is being grown? What are the most efficient things to grow?

Dr. Johnson has been testing growing microgreens for spaceflight applications with the help of VegBed growing mats. So far the results have been very promising. It performs especially well when combined with a wicking mat underneath.

Why are microgreens a good choice for astronauts?

They take up small space to grow
They grow quickly (typical varieties in 10-14 days)
They have high nutritional density
They’re flavorful!
Right now, there really isn’t any way to “cook” in space, so being able to eat foods that need minimal prep/cooking is vital. No Weber grill for me!

Read the complete article here.


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