Successful and diverse harvest in darkness and eternal ice

Successful and diverse harvest in darkness and eternal ice

Jess Bunchek, the NASA guest scientist at the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum fur Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR) EDEN ISS greenhouse, is nearing the end of her mission in Antarctica. Bunchek has been living and working as a member of the 41st overwintering expedition at the German Neumayer III Station, operated by the Alfred Wegener Institute, Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research (AWI) for almost one year.

She has experienced extreme cold and nine weeks of polar nights. During her time there, she has cultivated numerous vegetables and herbs without soil and using artificial light. The completely self-sufficient greenhouse has produced an abundant harvest for the overwintering crew, which was isolated for months. This included crops including broccoli, cauliflower and kohlrabi. The joint test, conducted by DLR and NASA, paves the way for cultivating fresh food on future missions to the Moon and Mars, as well as in climatically unfavourable regions on Earth.

“We have never been able to grow so many different varieties of vegetables and herbs during an overwintering mission with EDEN ISS,” says Daniel Schubert, project leader from the DLR Institute of Space Systems in Bremen. “Jess Bunchek has shown great skill and dedication here and we were able to try out a large number of new varieties, including some from NASA.”

Abundant harvest from chard to oregano
Over the course of the year, Bunchek has successfully harvested various plants and fruits, some of which have also been grown on the International Space Station (ISS), including various types of mustards and salads.

The ‘Espanola Improved’ chilli peppers have added spice and vitamin C to meals during Bunchek’s mission in Antarctica, as well as in the very different conditions aboard the ISS as part of NASA’s Plant Habitat-04 experiment. Bunchek has also grown tomatoes, cucumbers, beans, peas, leafy greens, watercress, arugula, broccoli and cauliflower, chard, spinach, kohlrabi, pak choi and radishes. She also cultivated different varieties of herbs including mint, basil, parsley, chives, rosemary, thyme and oregano.

“I am relieved by how well the crops have grown thus far,” says the delighted botanist. “EDEN ISS is unique and groundbreaking in that respect. We are collecting large amounts of data on system performance and resiliency, crop health and production, environment and crop microbiology, food safety, nutrition, crew psychology and the required inputs such as power, water and crew time.” Ray Wheeler, a senior scientist at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center adds: “We hope to build on Jess’s experience with EDEN ISS to gain a better understanding of what it might take to grow fresh food on future missions to the Moon and Mars.”

Green habitat despite ice, darkness and storms
During Bunchek’s stay, there were several strong storms, including one that caused the highest winds ever recorded in the area. During these storms, she could not venture outside to walk the 400 metres between Neumayer III Station and the greenhouse. On these days, the EDEN ISS greenhouse was fully monitored and operated from the control centre at the DLR Institute of Space Systems in Bremen. “Similar to agriculture, we have to accept the fact that weather and climate are the determining factors,” says Bunchek. “But I am here to learn how we can use technology to thrive in extreme conditions, whether it is a crew in space or communities dealing with climate change.”

One of the studies she conducted looks at the psychological impact of having fresh fruit and vegetables available and being able to observe and interact with the plants. NASA astronauts on the ISS have conducted similar experiments and completed several studies on cultivating plants in the Vegetable Production System, referred to as ‘Veggie’. “We will now be able to compare the crew psychology of the astronauts on the Space Station as they work with ‘Veggie’ and the Advanced Plant Habitat with the Antarctic overwintering crew members at Neumayer interacting with EDEN,” says Bunchek. “With a small overwintering crew and a long isolation period, Neumayer is a great space analogue setting for this kind of study.”

Overwinterers enthusiastic about fresh vegetables
“Extreme cold, severe storms and polar night make the Antarctic one of the most fascinating habitats on our planet, and these qualities also make it an ideal test site for growing vegetables under space-like conditions,” said Tim Heitland, former Neumayer overwintering crewmember and Station Manager, and now Medical Coordinator at AWI. “There is a complementary relationship between Neumayer Station and the EDEN ISS greenhouse – the plant researchers draw on the station’s resources, and the other scientists there are excited by the regular supply of fresh vegetables.”

Working with researchers from Germany, Bunchek has seen the biggest differences emerge between generations rather than countries of origin. “I have learned a lot from my crewmates, and I hope they have learned one important life skill from me – the endless number of possible food combinations involving peanut butter.” After spending 14 months surrounded by eternal ice, Bunchek will leave Antarctica and return to civilisation in early 2022. Seeing the Sun for the first time after the polar night left her speechless. “It will be bizarre to relearn and re-experience even the most basic conditions such as rain, thunderstorms, rocks and soil – not to mention, night-time, because, right now, we are in permanent ‘polar day’.”

News Related

OTHER NEWS

SpaceX launches 2,000th Starlink satellite from Florida

SpaceX successfully launched 49 Starlink satellites from Florida on Tuesday evening, bringing the total number of Starlinks launched to over 2,000. The Falcon 9 rocket lifted off from Complex 39A ... Read more »

China conducts its first rocket launch of 2022

China launched a Long March 2D carrier rocket on Monday morning, kicking off the country’s space program for 2022. The rocket blasted off at 10:35 am at the Taiyuan Satellite ... Read more »

Flying with the clouds

In precipitating clouds, the vertical cloud structure reflects the dynamic and thermal structural characteristics and microphysical characteristics of precipitating cloud clusters. Aircraft cloud detection has become a basic method to ... Read more »

New research may help scientists unravel the physics of the solar wind

A new study led by University of Minnesota Twin Cities researchers, using data from NASA’s Parker Solar Probe, provides insight into what generates and accelerates the solar wind, a stream ... Read more »

Update on Africa's 1st Satellite constellation built by CPUT

The Marine Domain Awareness Satellites (MDASat) have already started successfully transmitting data after they were launched aboard US aerospace company SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket yesterday. The mission carried a total ... Read more »

A second successful launch for SpaceCloud into space

SpaceCloud once again headed into orbit as a part of D-Orbit’s ION Satellite Carrier onboard SpaceX’s Transporter-3 mission that was launched January 13th from Cape Canaveral, Florida. The mission aims ... Read more »

Access to the 'SpaceDataHighway'

The ‘Columbus Ka-Band Terminal’ (ColKa) has commenced service. “The volume of scientific data generated by the experiments on the International Space Station (ISS) is continuously increasing. ColKa gives the Columbus ... Read more »

Palomar survey instrument analyzes impact of Starlink satellites

Since 2019, SpaceX has been launching an increasing number of internet satellites into orbit around Earth. The satellite constellation, called Starlink, now includes nearly 1,800 members orbiting at altitudes of ... Read more »

SpaceX launches 105 satellites from Florida

SpaceX successfully launched 105 satellites from Florida on Thursday morning as part of its rideshare program, which it uses to release satellites for dozens of customers in a single mission. ... Read more »

Using High Temperature Composites For Sustainable Space Travel

On the ground, sound waves travel at around 340 metres per second. An aircraft is Supersonic when it exceeds the speed of sound. Hypersonic speed is more than five times ... Read more »

Aliena deploys compact and fuel-efficient satellite engine into space

Aliena, a tech spin-off from Nanyang Technological University, Singapore (NTU Singapore), has been deployed into space a nanosatellite fitted with a fuel-efficient engine it has developed. The nanosatellite was sent ... Read more »

Hubble views a tranquil galaxy with an explosive past

The lazily winding spiral arms of the spectacular galaxy NGC 976 fill the frame of this image from the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope. This spiral galaxy lies around 150 million ... Read more »

Vast bubble in interstellar space source of all nearby, young stars

The Earth sits in a 1,000-light-year-wide void surrounded by thousands of young stars – but how did those stars form? In a paper appearing in Nature, astronomers at the Center ... Read more »

Webb Begins Its Months-Long Mirror Alignment

Webb has begun the detailed process of fine-tuning its individual optics into one huge, precise telescope. Engineers first commanded actuators – 126 devices that will move and shape the primary ... Read more »

DESI maps more galaxies than all previous surveys combined

The Dark Energy Spectroscopic Instrument (DESI) has cataloged more galaxies than all other previous three-dimensional redshift surveys combined, measuring 7.5 million galaxies in only seven months since beginning science operations. ... Read more »

$10M elevates UArizona hypersonics facilities to national prominence

University of Arizona aerospace and mechanical engineering researchers have received $3.5 million in funding from the state of Arizona’s investment in the New Economy Initiative and $6.5 million in federal ... Read more »

Loft Orbital signs with Airbus to procure 15 Arrow satellite platforms

Airbus has been contracted to supply space start-up Loft Orbital with more than fifteen satellite platforms derived from the Airbus Arrow platform. Arrow is the foundational satellite platform of the ... Read more »

Plato exoplanet mission gets green light for next phase

Plato, ESA’s next-generation planet hunting mission, has been given the green light to continue with its development after the critical milestone review concluded successfully on 11 January 2022. The review ... Read more »

Earth's interior is cooling faster than expected

The evolution of our Earth is the story of its cooling: 4.5 billion years ago, extreme temperatures prevailed on the surface of the young Earth, and it was covered by ... Read more »

New DAF software factory aims to digitally transform AFRL

The chief software officer for the Air Force recently designated Hangar 18 as a Department of the Air Force software factory. Hangar 18 joins 16 other DAF software factories-including the ... Read more »

Arase uncovers Geospace coupling between plasma waves and charged particles

In a new study published in Physical Review Letters, researchers from Japan show that high-frequency plasma waves in the Geospace can generate low-frequency plasma waves through wave-particle interactions by heating ... Read more »

Chile court freezes multi-million dollar lithium deal

A Chilean appeals court on Friday suspended a million-dollar state lithium tender issued two days earlier that had generated controversy for coming just two months before the end of conservative ... Read more »

Understanding the "cold spot" in the cosmic microwave background

After the Big Bang, the universe, glowing brightly, was opaque and so hot that atoms could not form. Eventually cooling down to about minus 454 degrees Fahrenheit (-270 degrees Celsius), ... Read more »

Evidence for a second supermoon beyond our solar system

Astronomers have reported a second, super-sized moon orbiting a Jupiter-sized planet beyond our solar system. If confirmed, the sighting could mean that exomoons are as common in the universe as ... Read more »

Virgin Orbit mission success brings UK satellite launch one step closer

Satellite launch from Spaceport Cornwall is a step closer following Virgin Orbit’s successful ‘Above the Clouds’ mission in the US. The UK Space Agency welcomes the news that Virgin Orbit ... Read more »

OMEGA joins ClearSpace to clean up space

ClearSpace SA is working to rid space of dangerous debris comprising left-over rockets and defunct satellites. Now, Swiss watchmaker OMEGA, manufacturer of the first watch worn on the Moon, is ... Read more »

Iran tests solid-fuel satellite carrier rocket

Iran’s Revolutionary Guards tested last week a solid-fuel satellite carrier rocket, state media has reported quoting the force’s aerospace commander as saying. Reports carried footage released by the elite force ... Read more »

SpaceX launches 44 SuperDove satellites for Planet Labs

Planet Labs reports the successful launch of its 4x Flock, consisting of 44 SuperDove satellites, into orbit on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket. The company has established contact with all ... Read more »

Ironing out the interiors of exoplanets

The discovery of more than 4,500 extra-solar planets has created a need for modelling their interior structure and dynamics. As it turns out, iron plays a key role. Lawrence Livermore ... Read more »

New insights into seasons on a planet outside our solar system

Imagine being in a place where the winds are so strong that they move at the speed of sound. That’s just one aspect of the atmosphere on XO-3b, one of ... Read more »

Citizen Scientists Spot Jupiter-like Planet in NASA TESS Data

Tom Jacobs of Bellevue, Washington, loves treasure hunts. Since 2010, the former U.S. naval officer has participated in online volunteer projects that allow anyone who is interested – “citizen scientists” ... Read more »

Team of astronomers finds widest separation of brown dwarf pair to date

A team of astronomers, led by Arizona State University undergraduate student Emma Softich, has discovered a rare pair of brown dwarfs that has the widest separation of any brown dwarf ... Read more »

Pandora mission to study stars and exoplanets continues toward flight

The Pandora mission, co-led by a national laboratory and a NASA flight center, has passed a crucial step on its path to study stars and planets outside our solar system, ... Read more »

Unusual team finds gigantic planet hidden in plain sight

Riverside CA (SPX) Jan 14, 2022 A UC Riverside astronomer and a group of eagle-eyed citizen scientists have discovered a giant gas planet hidden from view by typical stargazing tools. ... Read more »

Photon pairs are more sensitive to rotations than single photons

In the field of quantum metrology, scientists are developing novel measurement schemes that benefit from quantum features and are more precise and sensitive than classical conventional methods. The team of ... Read more »

Newly-Found Planets On The Edge Of Destruction

Three newly-discovered planets have been orbiting dangerously close to stars nearing the end of their lives. Out of the thousands of extrasolar planets found so far, these three gas giant ... Read more »

Kleos' Patrol Mission satellites to launch in April

Kleos Space S.A, a space-powered Radio Frequency Reconnaissance data-as-a- service (DaaS) company, announces the Kleos Patrol Mission (KSF2) satellites, planned to launch in January 2022, have been remanifested to launch ... Read more »

Virgin Orbit launches a rocket carrying 7 satellites

Virgin Orbit kicked off an ambitious launch schedule for 2022 on Thursday by sending seven small satellites into space aboard a rocket launched from a jet high above the Pacific ... Read more »

Black hole at center of Milky Way unpredictable and chaotic

An international team of researchers, led by postgraduate student Alexis Andres, has found that the black hole at the centre of our galaxy, Sagittarius A*, not only flares irregularly from ... Read more »

SES Government Solutions Launches On-Demand X-band Service Platform

SES Government Solutions, a wholly-owned subsidiary of SES, announced the launch of tactiXs, a mission-specific managed service platform in partnership with Network Innovations and GovSat, a public-private joint venture between ... Read more »
On free-english-test.com you will find lots of free English exam practice materials to help you improve your English skills: grammar, listening, reading, writing, ielts, toeic