Space Farming Advances: NASA Takes Israeli Duckweed Veggie to Orbit for Astronaut Nutrition
In a pioneering endeavor to strengthen astronaut nutrition, NASA has partnered with Israeli agri-tech company GreenOnyx to send a trailblazing vegetable, Wanna Greens®, to the International Space Station (ISS). These distinctively small veggies, derived from duckweed, have taken their first zero-gravity voyage aboard a recent SpaceX rocket as an integral component of the CRS-29 mission.
The enthusiasm surrounding the launch of Wanna Greens® extends beyond their novelty in space. Notably smaller than conventional leafy greens, this Wolffia-based product packs a potent punch of nutrients surpassing those found in spinach and kale. Its iron, zinc, and potassium content making it an exceptional food source for spacefarers facing the rigors of long missions.
GreenOnyx co-founder, Dr. Tsipi Shoham, has spared no effort in adapting Wanna Greens® for the unique challenges of microgravity agriculture. The intention is not merely to grow these plants aboard the ISS but to make fresh consumption routine for astronauts. This research not merely opens new doors for space cultivation but reciprocally enriches sustainable farming practices on Earth.
Produced in a state-of-the-art indoor facility, Wanna Greens® boast remarkable attributes due to their sterile cultivation devoid of any chemical pollutants. Offering an extended shelf life and versatility, the “ready to use” veggies invite consumers to simply scoop and serve, conferring a touch of nutritional luxury akin to caviar.
As NASA persists in paving the way for human exploration of the cosmos, the inclusion of Wanna Greens® addresses the critical need to provide crews with wholesome, fresh foods to bolster their health in space. Enhancing astronauts’ diets aligns with broader spacefaring objectives, including upcoming long-duration voyages to Mars and beyond, where resilient physical and mental vitality pivots on such advancements in onboard horticulture.
FAQ Section Based on the Main Topics and Information Presented in the Article:
What are Wanna Greens®?
Wanna Greens® are a type of small vegetable derived from duckweed, specifically the Wolffia species. They are known for their high nutrient content, including iron, zinc, and potassium.
Why is NASA interested in Wanna Greens®?
NASA is interested in Wanna Greens® because of their nutritional richness, small size, and suitability for space cultivation. Their ability to provide astronauts with fresh food is valuable for long-duration space missions’ health and wellbeing.
Who has NASA partnered with for sending Wanna Greens® to space?
NASA has partnered with the Israeli agri-tech company GreenOnyx to send Wanna Greens® to the International Space Station (ISS).
What was the mission that transported Wanna Greens® to the ISS?
Wanna Greens® were sent to the ISS on SpaceX’s rocket as part of the CRS-29 mission.
What are the benefits of Wanna Greens® compared to traditional leafy greens?
Wanna Greens® are exceptionally nutrient-dense, containing more iron, zinc, and potassium than conventional leafy greens like spinach and kale. They also have an extended shelf life and are easy to prepare.
How are Wanna Greens® cultivated?
They are produced in a state-of-the-art indoor facility using sterile cultivation without chemical pollutants. This method allows them to be grown in a clean and controlled environment.
How does Wanna Greens® consumption benefit astronauts?
Consuming Wanna Greens® offers astronauts a source of fresh, wholesome food that can bolster their health, resilience, and vitality on long space voyages.
Definitions for Key Terms or Jargon:
Astronaut Nutrition: The study and practice of managing the dietary needs of astronauts to ensure health and performance in space.
Agri-tech: Short for agricultural technology, relating to the application of technology in agriculture.
International Space Station (ISS): A modular space station (habitable artificial satellite) in low Earth orbit.
Microgravity: A condition in which objects appear to be weightless and experience very weak gravity, as in space.
Duckweed: The common name for simple, small aquatic plants that float on or just beneath the surface of still or slow-moving bodies of freshwater and wetlands.
Wolffia: A genus of aquatic plants, also known as watermeal, it is the smallest genus of the duckweed family and is used here as Wanna Greens®.
SpaceX: An American aerospace manufacturer and space transportation company founded by Elon Musk.
CRS-29: Refers to SpaceX’s 29th Commercial Resupply Services mission to the ISS.
Indoor Facility: A controlled environment typically used for the production of crops without the need for external land or natural climate conditions.
Chemical Pollutants: Substances that may contaminate the environment or products, often a concern in agriculture and food production.
Horticulture: The art and science of plant cultivation, including the process of preparing soil for the planting of seeds, tubers, or cuttings.
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