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Space NASA

Growing Flowers In Space (nasa.gov) 44

An anonymous reader writes: This weekend, NASA astronaut Scott Kelly posted a picture of the first flower to bloom in space. The International Space Station has been home to the Veggie plant growth facility for almost two years, and scientists have been working hard to figure out how to keep crops alive in microgravity. It's a challenge to keep plants properly heated and hydrated, and their current specimens been attacked by mold as well. "More crops for Veggie are heading to the orbiting laboratory aboard SpaceX-8. The Veg-03 run will include two sets of Chinese cabbage, and one set of red romaine lettuce. In 2018, there are plans to launch dwarf tomato seeds to the space station. Smith said the lessons learned from growing zinnia flowers will be critical in the process of growing tomatoes, a fellow flowering plant. Studies are also in progress to see how adjusting the lighting in the Veggie plant growth facility can affect plan mineral composition. There will be preflight testing to determine what 'light recipe' to use aboard the station."
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Growing Flowers In Space

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  • This is important if we're to ever have long space flights.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      No shit Sherlock

      • The way you can tell is that the article mentions that their plants had been attacked by mold. Really? And why were mold spores allowed to come into the plant growth facility? This reminds me of a comment by the agronomist in the Biosphere 2 building in Arizona, which was supposed to be a test of the ability of humans to survive in a closed environment such as a Mars habitat. She said she spent two thirds of her time weeding the vegetable garden.

        There are lots of difficulties related to space agricultur

        • by Anon-Admin ( 443764 ) on Monday January 18, 2016 @11:15AM (#51322093) Homepage Journal

          The way you can tell is that the article mentions that their plants had been attacked by mold. Really? And why were mold spores allowed to come into the plant growth facility?

          I take it you have never worked in mycology.

          You can't eliminate them, they are everywhere and in amazing quantities. Even in my ISO Class 100 clean room working under a laminar flow hood, I still get the rare unintended mold growth in a culture. Normally from a simple procedure mistake.

          You have mold spores on your skin, in your hair, on everything you own, etc.

          Just for the fun of it I set up the laser particle counter in my kitchen one day, gave an average reading of 6,954,652 particles, at a flow rate of 0.1 CFM, between .3 microns and .5 microns per cubic foot of air.

          • Indeed, and the spores are already floating around in orbit too. They don't even need to bring them in.

        • by drewsup ( 990717 )

          the ISS is a perfect mold growth meduim, damp, coolish in temp, why do think Mir was allowed to crash and burn, the mold was getting out of control.no matter how you clean, how much you inspect what goes in, mold spores are VERY hard to contain, I would think even cobalt irradiation of supplies wouldnt get everything.....

        • And why were mold spores allowed to come into the plant growth facility?

          LOL, what??? Are you joking??

          A quick google says that mold spores are 3 to 40 microns [ucf.edu].

          Allowed?? How the hell do you plan on filtering out everything on the 3-40 micron scale? From the same article:

          they are literally everywhere. There is no reasonable, reliable and cost-effective means of eliminating them from environments that humans inhabit. So, trying to control mold growth through the elimination of mold spores is not feasible.

          Yo

        • Do you really want to kill off all bacterias, microscopic mushrooms and whatever else? Assuming you can do it my uneducated guess is that your plants will die off.

          Perhaps the microbial life present on and inside humans will find its ways into interacting with the plants, maybe that'll help them, maybe they'll be worse off than with the original "pests" and "germs" you exterminated.
          Want to get rid of all that microbial life infesting humans? Then the humans die off.
          In fact poo transplantation is a medical pr

    • Or just get biology completely out of the mix and instead upload human consciousness into computers?. I'm sorry, but if we're really talking about long duration to trek the farthest reaches of space, even to planets such as Jupiter, supporting fragile biology doesn't seem very logical.

      • You cannot "upload" a consciousness into a computer. At the very best, you'll be able to make a copy.

        And if you happen to be able to makes a perfect copy, it means it will think like a human. Wouldn't a human mind go insane on a centuries-long trip?

        • I don't have the absolute answer to refute your comment; maybe you're right, maybe you're not. But I will leave you with the following question: If you had a machine that cloned a copy of you atom for atom as an exact replica, which version is "you"?

          • I will leave you with the following question: If you had a unicorn, would it shit skittles and piss moonbeams?

            Because, really, mine is just as likely as yours given existing technology.

            So, why even consider it?

          • Well if you didn't know, I'll file your comment under "wild speculation disguised as analysis."

            And the answer to your question, of course, is "The original." You didn't even consider if your phrasing made sense, did you?

            Also, "atom for atom" isn't even the right scale to attempt what you think you're describing. :o

        • If you could make a perfect copy to hardware, you can reset it back to a known good state whenever you need to or it goes insane. Also, if you could put a human consciousness into a computer, you'd need some hardware to interface with or some other way to approximate human sensations. Imagine your brain waking up and having no sense of sight, hearing, touch, etc. You wouldn't need a centuries-long trip through space for a mind to go insane.

          Putting it in a computer would be a neat trick, but downloading i
      • by Anonymous Coward

        1) Can you define exactly what you mean by "consciousness"? And how do we extract it from your head to upload anywhere else?

        2) Is it OK if I upload your consciousness to my prototype quantum computer here so that I can send you on a trip to around the galaxy in said machine?

        I hope it's OK with you that your biological brain is killed in the upload process. Quantum mechanics does not allow copying of information like that.

        3) What's the point of populating the universe with robots as you suggest? The human ra

      • Well, gee, we can look at supporting the fragile biology because it exists and we can do real science around that ... or we can rely on something which is nowhere near existing (uploading human consciousness into computers).

        So basically you're saying we should wait until we perfect technology we don't even remotely have, and not bother doing stuff we actually can?

        I'm sorry, but saying we should halt science to wait for science fiction means we'd never fucking do anything, because we'd all be sitting around

        • I think the argument is that lots of research is going into supporting this fragile biology and yet comparatively little is going into transferring consciousness into computers. So rather than devoting the resources to figure out how to keep people alive in a hostile environment, perhaps we should devote those resources into figuring out how to make a "person" that can survive in the hostile environment.

          The reason, as you state, is that we know more about our fragile biology than we know about that thing c

          • Logitech and many others are doing quite a nice business selling keyboards and mice. Is that not a good enough method for transferring consciousness into computers?

            Yes, I know, you're asking for something like "rsync -asv /mnt/Joe /backup". The problem is so difficult that we don't really know what questions to ask, so we have to focus on biology first.

        • Or, we could just scan his brain, show him the scan to prove he's in the computer, "delete" the original, and call it a day. If you don't feel the magic that doesn't mean you have to rain on his parade.

    • Re:Plants (Score:4, Insightful)

      by vtcodger ( 957785 ) on Monday January 18, 2016 @10:38AM (#51321889)

      > This is important if we're to ever have long space flights.

      According to the article, mold was a problem with the zinnia. Perhaps we should forget trying to replicate terrestrial horticulture just like back in Kansas, and focus on growing edible and/or decorative molds.

  • by Tokolosh ( 1256448 ) on Monday January 18, 2016 @10:12AM (#51321753)

    Sheesh, the Chinese are taking over everywhere!

  • Nope, not the first (Score:5, Informative)

    by Subgenius ( 95662 ) on Monday January 18, 2016 @10:24AM (#51321821) Homepage

    Sorry to be a wet blank here, but these were not the first blooms in space; the Soviets did it back in 1982

    Plant growth, development and embryogenesis during Salyut-7 flight [nih.gov], Adv Space Res. 1984;4(10):55-63.

    (info courtesy nasawatch.com)

  • and perhaps a sperm whale

  • Maybe I missed the species of flower, but I’d like to know what this flower looks like when grown on earth and how being on 0-g has affected its appearance.

    • The flower was a Zinnia. If you look at the orlandosentinal link you can see photos of the plant as a whole. It looks like 0-g has messed with it pretty significantly, lots of ingrown leaves and not the arrangement you would expect on earth.

      Also Zinnias are a many many petalled flower in multiple layers and the one grown appears to only be a single layer and a much smaller count of petals. It could be a different sub-species but the difference is significant. http://www.photos-public-domai... [photos-public-domain.com]

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