1998-07-13

Performance of Salad-Type Plants Using Lighting and Nutrient Delivery Concepts Intended for Spaceflight 981554

Because of mass and power constraints in spacecraft, plant growth units designed for spaceflight have limited volume and low photosynthetic photon flux (PPF). Sufficient lighting and nutrient delivery are basic challenges to the success of supporting long-term plant growth in space. At the Kennedy Space Center, plant lighting and nutrient delivery hardware currently under NASA-sponsored development are being evaluated to define some of the fundamental issues associated with producing different fresh salad crops. Lettuce crops performed well under all nutrient delivery systems and lighting sources tested. Spinach and radish yields were lower in the presence of zeoponic media (using an ASTROCULTURE™ root tray) relative to plant grown in conventional NFT systems. Within each nutrient delivery system, yields of salad crops under red LEDs + blue light were similar to those crops grown under conventional white light.

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