To boldly grow: how space agtech shapes farming on Earth

The value that space innovation has already created here on Earth is immeasurable. NASA says its return on investment in the US economy is more than three times its annual budget. From cellular data and hurricane predictions to robotics and health science, many aspects of our lives are made significantly easier, more efficient, or more enjoyable thanks to the breakthroughs and utilization made in space. We are now seeing tremendous potential for research and technological advancement for agtech in space, with applications that will both enable future prolonged extraterrestrial habitation, as well as improve agricultural practices here on Earth.

Developing sustainable and scalable food sources for astronauts will be critical to our ability to successfully establish and expand new destinations in space. A few commercial companies, including Voyager, are actively developing new commercial space stations to replace the International Space Station (ISS), and with these new destinations comes a need to provide nutrient-dense food for inhabitants.

Because the space environment presents us with challenges we aren’t required to face down here, researchers are forced to think outside the normal constraints of what is possible to devise solutions that often lead to game-changing innovations here on Earth. For example, NASA helped develop biologically oriented LED technology to help plants grow indoors.



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