Episode 17: The Science Behind Growing Food in Space
Dr. Bruce Bugbee, Professor of Crop Physiology and Director of the Crop Physiology Lab at Utah State University, discusses his space farming research and what we earthlings can learn from space farming techniques. Find out what happens to plants in a zero-gravity environment and how scientists overcome the particular challenges of deploying measurement sensors in space. He also shares his research on the efficacy of LED lights for indoor growing.
His work includes collaborating with NASA to develop closed life-support systems for long-term space missions. He’s been involved with the development of crop-growing systems for future life on the Moon, in addition to in-orbit or in-space shuttles. He’s worked on projects for Mars farming, including the use of fiber optics for indoor lighting, And as a part of this research, he was involved in the creation of the NASA Space Technology Research Institute’s Center for the Utilization of Biological Engineering in Space (or CUBES).
Dr. Bugbee also has long been a critic of the use of indoor farming as a means of solving food shortages, due to the large amount of electricity needed to provide light for photosynthesis. His recent work in this area has included studies into the efficacy of LED lights for indoor growing. (Credit: Wikipedia)