August 11, 2022

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Aerospace, the first micro-botanical garden made in Italy was launched into orbit

What is GREENCube

– Launched on July 13 from the Kourou space base, in French Guiana, the small garden has dimensions of 30 x 10 x 10 cm and is able to ensure a complete growth cycle of delicate vegetables selected among the most suitable to withstand harsh conditions. In this case

watercress

: The results will be critical to verifying how the plants react to extreme situations, so that they can be used as fresh and highly nutritious food on future missions with astronauts on board.

As Enea explains, the small garden is located in a compact and confined environment. It also contains a file

Integrated sensor system

hi tech

For remote monitoring and control of environmental parameters, as well as plant growth and health. All acquired data will be transmitted to Earth in complete independence.

the satellite

– The satellite that hosts the micro-garden consists of two modules. In the beginning there are the micro-vegetables, the farming system, the environmental control, the nutrient solution, the necessary atmosphere and the sensors. The second houses the spacecraft management and control platform.

Ines’ comment

– “The research is focused on developing systems to support life in space,” explained Luca Nardi of the Enea Biotechnology Laboratory. “Plants play a key role as a source of fresh food to supplement prepackaged rations and ensure a balanced nutritional intake, which is critical to human survival in harsh environmental conditions,” he added.

experimentation

– “Small plants growing in the absence of soil, such as GREENCube, can play a major role in meeting the nutritional needs of the crew, reducing operating times and avoiding pollution thanks to the automated control of environmental conditions. For this reason, after the successful launch of the rocket and the launch of its payload into orbit, we are anxiously awaiting Optimal internal temperatures to give the green light for the experiment,” Nardi explained.

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Astronauts

He noted, “Not to underestimate it is also the psychological benefit of the crew, which derives from the cultivation and consumption of fresh vegetables that restore familiarity with earthly customs and environments.” In short, it is a small step “to overcome the stress to which astronauts are exposed, due to the conditions of isolation in a fully artificial environment”.