Private space company Nanoracks has signed an agreement with UAE investors to build orbital greenhouses to grow edible plants. According to Nanoracks Director Jeffrey Manber, plants that can survive in space will solve the problem of food shortages here on Earth. A considerable number of experiments in this area support this hypothesis.
According to Manber, there is no urgent need to grow vegetables in space to feed people on the planet (at least not yet). Rather, extreme extraterrestrial conditions are conveniently used to create new mutant species that can thrive in disadvantaged regions of our planet. This task is becoming very urgent in light of the rapidly increasing climate change.
“Thanks to DNA mutations that occur naturally in space and subsequent selection, we have already managed to create plants with higher yields and disease resistance, as well as better nutritional characteristics and less water requirements,” said Liuxian of the Agrarian Institute of the Chinese Academy. agricultural sciences in an interview with Space.com.
It is for this reason that Nanoracks plans to launch the StarLab orbital agro-technical complex this year. It will function as a greenhouse and research center to grow new plants with improved characteristics. Whether scientists will be able to get practically useful plants in space faster than breeding them with the help of genetic modifications on Earth remains a question. If the Nanoracks project comes true, then we will know the answer already very soon.