Extreme Environments

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Arctic greenhouse network provides locals with everything fresh

Submitted by Elsewhere on 2020-Sep-23 Wed 13:15

Beneath the clear, polycarbonate dome encasing a former hockey arena, Ray Solotki, executive director of the Inuvik Community Greenhouse, tends to flourishing beds of vegetables and flowers. Temperatures in Inuvik, a 3,200-person Canadian town located 120 miles north of the Arctic Circle, can plummet…

Scientists: Worms Could Kill Pests on Space Vegetables

Submitted by Elsewhere on 2020-Sep-23 Wed 12:08

Space Worms

If long-term missions to space or even new worlds are to have any chance of success, astronauts will likely need to learn to grow their own food.

That means developing a space version of agriculture. Now, scientists from the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the biotech company Pheronym brought the idea one step closer to reality with the discovery that roundworms are just as good at gobbling up pest insects up in space as they are down here, giving future astronauts a new way to protect their crops.


Scientists weren’t sure how well the parasitic roundworms — formally called nematodes — would fare in a microgravity environment. But when they sent them to the International Space Station, the worms were able to survive as well as infect and kill pest insects that might threaten crops much as they do on Earth, according to research published in the journal npj Microgravity.

Interestingly, the worms seemed to adapt to space early in their life cycle. Worms that were born on Earth were able to return home, but worms that were hatched and raised entirely in space died upon re-entry.

Space Nematodes: A Giant Leap for Interplanetary Agriculture - Agricultural Research

Submitted by Elsewhere on 2020-Sep-22 Tue 11:43

In a successful return-to-space mission, research study results indicate that beneficial insect-killing nematodes (small round worms) can be used in the future for natural control of insect pests when humans are growing crops in space. The research objective was to study entomopathogenic (insect-killing) nematodes (EPNs) foraging and infection dynamics in space onboard the International Space Station (ISS) between December 2019 and January 2020.

These beneficial roundworms may have "what it takes" for controlling pest insects that threaten crops grown aboard during long-term human missions in space. That's the implication of findings from experiments conducted aboard the ISS and published in the journal npj|Microgravity. EPNs are insect parasites used to naturally control insect pests that damage crops, that's why investigating the efficacy of EPNs in a unique environment like the one provided by the ISS (e.g. an apparent state of weightlessness) could help establish successful agriculture and plant protection in space.

How to design a sustainable greenhouse in Middle Eastern and North African climate

Submitted by Elsewhere on 2020-Sep-21 Mon 09:58

Food security is currently one of the main goals in the Middle East and North Africa. They strive to become self-sufficient. These countries often face harsh conditions, with hot and dry or hot and wet climates. The main issue there isn't how to heat the greenhouse, but how to cool and dehumidify it.  With…

An Israeli company developed a method to plant seeds in saline soils

Submitted by Elsewhere on 2020-Aug-28 Fri 09:24

The increased salinity of soils, both due to the use of chemical products in agriculture and to climate change, is one of the factors that limit plant development. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), nearly one-fifth of the world's irrigated land is already too…

Israel and the United Arab Emirates work together to grow berries and tomatoes in the desert

Submitted by Elsewhere on 2020-Aug-20 Thu 09:57

The Israeli company Arieli Capital and a regional council from the Negev desert in Israel are in talks with officials from the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to promote agriculture projects in the desert. The talks began before Israel and the United Arab Emirates announced a normalization agreement between…

Nunavut greenhouse could teach scientists how to grow food in outer space

Submitted by Elsewhere on 2020-Aug-11 Tue 09:40

The Canadian Space Agency says growing food in the North is similar to growing food in space. It's training people in Gjoa Haven to help research food production in harsh environments.

NASA Experiment: Radishes Could Probably Grow in Lunar Soil

Submitted by Andrew Simard on 2020-Jul-20 Mon 14:29

NASA scientist Max Coleman has been trying to figure out if it’s possible to grow radishes in lunar soil — in his kitchen.

His goal is to figure out whether astronauts could one day grow their own food on the lunar surface — much like Matt Damon’s character in Ridley Scott’s 2015 film “The Martian.”

Coleman chose radishes because “they have been used before in space, and they germinate very, very fast,” according to a NASA Jet Propulsion Lab (JPL) statement.

A hi-tech vegetable garden that can grow on the moon and at the poles

Submitted by Elsewhere on 2020-Jul-13 Mon 09:18

The future is already here! Enea is working on a hi-tech garden to grow micro-vegetables on the moon and in extreme terrestrial environments, such as the polar regions. The cultivation is set up inside a special igloo greenhouse designed to withstand very low temperatures. Luca Nardi. Simulated space missions…