NASA has launched a new program for the research of the growth of edible plants in the Orbit. They will be taking help from students of the Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden in Florida, U.S. to study the best species of plants that can be used in the orbit the space or any other surface of the planet especially Mars.
Amy Padolf, director of education at Fairchild said, “It’s very powerful to put the science in the hands of the students. It is putting what they have learned to use in a very practical way.”
NASA will be using student citizen scientists for actual research. This way, even the students will be benefiting in terms of gaining knowledge.
Trent Smith, project manager for Veggie said “Once you tell the students that the plants are candidates for space and for astronauts to eat on their journey to Mars they start paying a lot of attention. These answers are not in the back of the book. Whatever they find when they grow their plants, they are finding it out for the first time for anyone.”
The students will also be posting regular social media updates through their twitter handle @GrowBeyondEarth.
NASA has long been planning a two and a half year manned mission to Mars. Astronauts will naturally require food to supplement themselves.