Hydroponics is NASA's solution to providing space travellers with a self-sufficient food source. The Administration has sponsored a research program titled Controlled Ecological Life Support System (CELSS) in order to further develop the technology and carry it into the future. The picture at right is of Epcot/NASA's Space Agriculture expo as seen from a tour of the Epcot Center attraction. The lighting used in these examples is high-pressure sodium or HPS, which is the choice for most commercial growers due to its strong "lumen per watt" efficiency. High Intensity Discharge (H.I.D.) lighting, which includes the
HPS and metal halide (MH) type lamps, is the best lighting to use when gardening indoors or supplementing natural lighting due to their efficiency and close representation of the sun's color and intensity. Whether or not this technology is ever actually used in space travel, what NASA has learned from developing these self-sufficient food source programs can be used to great advantage by every gardener willing to give it a try!
Was this article helpful?