Scientists Harvest First Vegetable Crops From Antarctic Greenhouse

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Last year, a greenhouse container was on its way to the Antarctic. Now, it’s time for the scientists to harvest their crops! They have successfully grown their first crop of veggies without soil and sunlight. It was all done to find a way and grow veggies in space or on other planets.

When the researchers at the Neumeyer-Station III harvested about 3.6 kg of salad, 18 cucumbers, and 70 radishes, everyone was thankful for the fresh food, because you don’t get such food in Antarctica!

Bernhard Gropp, the station manager stated the following:

“It was special to have the first fresh salad of the Antarctic. It tasted as if we had harvested it fresh in the garden.”

Although they have had some small system failures and faced a strong storm, Daniel Schubert, the project leader, said that the harvest they had this spring “shows that the Antarctic is an ideal test field for research.”

No Earth + No Daylight + No Pesticides = Veggies?

The veggies grown in the Antarctic were inside a greenhouse container that had no earth, daylight or pesticides. Researchers tried to get the most out of growing plants in a harsh environment, with little resources. The Antarctic project aims to grow more types of food for manned missions on Moon and Mars.

But even though the plants don’t have soil, daylight or pesticides, they get a ton of other things: they get light from special lamps, a certain mixture of air delivered from filters and nozzles, ice from the station gets melted, filtered and purified and then inserted into a ‘special nutrient solution’ that will spray the plants once in 5 or 10 minutes. The spraying process is called aeroponics. The container has bottles of carbon dioxide that gets mixed with the air after it’s filtered by a UV radiation system. Plants were getting blue and red light for 16 hours and then rested for eight hours in the dark.

This research is also helpful for anyone who would need to start growing crops inside, as a solution to critical climate change that might damage plants in the future.

Looking at the results so far, the scientists said that by May they will get about 4-5 kilograms of fruits and veggies each week! They will have a feast in the Antarctic

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Andre Blair s is the lead editor for Advocator.ca. He holds a B.A. in Psychology from the University of Toronto, and a Master of Science in Public Health (M.S.P.H.) from the School of Public Health, Department of Health Administration, at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Andre specializes in environmental health, but writes on a variety of issues.


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