Produce: the final frontier?

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At a time when tech billionaires are sending their millionaire friends into low orbit and the U.S. government has basically confirmed what many of us have long suspected (we’re not alone in the universe), produce is making waves in the aerospace industry.

Yes, you read that correctly: veggies. In space. Pretty cool, right?

The folks at NASA recently shared an update on its XROOTS program. According to the agency, the eXposed Root On-Orbit Test System (XROOTS) experiment uses hydroponic and aeroponic techniques to grow plants on the ISS without soil or other growth media.

NASA says that the results of this study could “identify suitable methods to produce crops on a larger scale for future space missions.”

Back in March, Prudac Breeding Specialties shared that it was sending its diminutive, CEA-bred pepper varieties up on the next space shuttle to participate in the plant trials on the ISS.

Why does this bear mentioning? It’s encouraging that we’ve got the top minds in the aerospace world working on and producing crops with some of the same type of systems vertical and indoor farmers are using here on earth.

My two cents? I suspect that there will be a major growing system technology breakthrough to come out of these ISS trials. Many of the technologies used today in broad acre precision agriculture got their start in the aerospace world.

That bodes incredibly well for the future of indoor farming.

Onward and upward, as they say!

Matthew J. Grassi, Editor | mgrassi@gie.net | 216-393-0362