If you’ve been totally out of the loop, it’s been almost one year since NASA announced that they would be sending astronauts to live on Mars. This is one of the biggest steps we’ve ever made since our expedition to the moon decades ago. What we need to achieve this feat won’t be an easy task as there are so many factors to consider before we are able to safely put and sustain people on the red planet. This is probably one of the reasons why NASA announced that the event will be happening on 2030, which is surprisingly a short 15 years from now. One of the main concerns is having the vehicles and technology needed to safely transport and sustain people on Mars. This includes spaceships, orbiting satellites, supply transport, and much more. Another one of the major concerns especially for astronauts going on this expedition is the lack of sustainable food. There’s also the lack of other social and physical needs but that’s all a topic for another time.
With this we’ve recently made some significant progress on having sustainable food. Enter the space lettuce, the red romaine lettuce is the first vegetable to be successfully planted and farmed on the International Space Station. This bodes well for other species of veggies as tests on the lettuce have shown that the vegetable is edible and contains no microbial threat. This is a relief considering the possibilities if these vegetables go wrong (Man-eating Veggies, Space Zombies, okay those are a little extreme). With this, NASA projects that they’ll soon be able to make facilities on Mars that will be able to cultivate Space Lettuce and other Space Vegetables. This will improve astronaut physical and mental health as items that relate to earth can be quite relieving for those living far away from it. Samples from the Space Station are already been bought back to earth while a few remaining plants have been served steamed with a bit of butter. Okay, so Space Culinary might not yet be in near future plans, a man can dream right!
What’s the next step for space vegetables? What’s the next step for our foray into Mars? Perhaps we shall see the successors of Space Lettuce soon enough. Flowers and other plants are also being tested. Who knows, we might see Space Farmville appear in Facebook after a few years!