US (FL): Florida Tech scientist wins grant to study deep space agriculture

No matter where humans travel, sustenance remains a necessity. Finding a bite to eat during a visit to New York, for example, is no problem.

When the destination is a bit farther away, such as Mars, the options are not as plentiful there or on the long journey to get there. That’s where Florida Tech’s Andrew Palmer comes in.

He and other scientists are exploring ways to feed our explorers, and a new competitive grant from the Planetary Society will fund work that examines the two most likely ways to produce food during travel to these far-flung spots: in soil or something like soil or in water.

Palmer and his team were awarded a $50,000 Science and Technology Empowered by the Public (STEP) grant, the Planetary Society recently announced. For the next year, they will grow radish microgreens, lettuce, and tomatoes in identical environmental conditions with one major exception: one batch will be grown hydroponically, and another will be grown in regolith–like lunar or Martian soil.


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