German scientists working in Antarctica were able to grow vegetables without soil or sunlight. From the first crop, the scientists were able to gather 8 pounds of different vegetables.
This could help scientists working on long-range space travel come up with a solution for how to feed the astronauts.
Manned Space Missions
Scientists from the German Aerospace Center are working on the EDEN-ISS project. They were trying to find a way to cultivate during manned missions in space. Scientists worked in Antarctica to mimic the conditions of Mars or the moon.
Researchers worked at Germany's Neumayer Station III in a lab that is the size of shipping container. From the first yield, they were able to successfully grow herbs, lettuce, arugula, and red radishes.
They were able to grow 8 pounds of vegetables inside a high-tech greenhouse. Outside of the research station, temperatures reached below -4 degrees Fahrenheit (-20 degrees Celsius). Scientists hope that by May they will be able to gather 9 to 11 pounds of fruits and vegetables a week from their efforts.
NASA has already been able to grow vegetables on the International Space Station. What the EDEN-ISS project hopes to accomplish is to produce a wider range of vegetables for possible missions to Mars or the moon.
EDEN ISS Project
This mission worked to test just how astronauts will be able to sustain themselves while in space. There will be manned missions to Mars and the moon that will seek to colonize both worlds. EDEN ISS is a consortium of European, American, and Canadian experts in human spaceflight and CEA.
In the mission statement, EDEN ISS says that its goal is to advance Controlled Environment Agriculture (CEA) technologies beyond the state-of-the-art. It also states that it focuses on ground demonstration of plant cultivation technologies and how they can be applied to human missions in space.
Currently, the technology made by EDEN ISS is on-board the International Space Station. It hopes to develop an advanced nutrient delivery system, a high performance LED lighting system, a bio-detection and decontamination system, and food quality and safety procedures and technologies.
EDEN ISS is a four-year project under the European Union's Research and Innovation Action program Horizon 2010 under the subject "Space exploration / Life support." The project is set to conclude in February 2019.