Space berries!

Purdue University researchers have devised a menu for a mission to Mars (or further) – fresh strawberries grown in space:

Cary Mitchell, professor of horticulture, and Gioia Massa, a horticulture research scientist, tested several cultivars of strawberries and found one variety, named Seascape, which seems to meet the requirements for becoming a space crop.

“What we’re trying to do is grow our plants and minimize all of our inputs,” Massa said. “We can grow these strawberries under shorter photoperiods than we thought and still get pretty much the same amount of yield.”

Seascape strawberries are day-neutral, meaning they aren’t sensitive to the length of available daylight to flower. Seascape was tested with as much as 20 hours of daylight and as little as 10 hours. While there were fewer strawberries with less light, each berry was larger and the volume of the yields was statistically the same.

“I was astounded that even with a day-neutral cultivar we were able to get basically the same amount of fruit with half the light,” Mitchell said.

[via Keep Your Pebbles].

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