Without food and humans can’t live, so living in space requires some unique ways to obtain a food source. Initially, food will be lifted with each launch. Menus will be filled out and lifted for the entire length of the visitor’s stay in space. Many of the menu items will be frozen and contained in freezer storage as needed. If the visitor extends his or her stay when living in space, food can be lifted in subsequent launches.
But how are people going to be fed when the hotel goes beyond our means of supply? Will living in space be practical? The answer is to grow our own food in space. There are several ways to do this and I’ll be discussing the most practical solutions for growing food in outer space. Before we look at various methods, we have to consider the practicality of growing in space if we are to live in space.
One, it’s very impractical to be lifting large amounts of soil to grow terrestrial plants; therefore, another method of growing food has to be devised. One good solution is growing using Hydroponics, a method of growing plants using mineral nutrient solutions, in water, without soil. With hydroponics, an abundant amount of fresh food can be continually grown and harvested for consumption daily.
Another solution is using aeroponics, a technique for growing (cultivating) plants without them being in soil or in hydroponic (water) media. The plants are held above a system that constantly, or intermittently, mists the roots with nutrient-laden water.
Aerial plants normally grow in tropical climates that experience an abundance of rain such as in the rain forests of tropical areas of the world. These plants are not normally used for consumption; however, with cross or hybrid breeding, plants could be grown aeroponically with very high nutrient value for human consumption.
The bottom line for extended living in space is we want to grow plants where we can consume the whole plant, including the roots, stock, fruit, and leaves. Traditionally, we just eat the fruit and either compose or throw the rest of the plant away; however, research suggests that many potent nutrients are contained in the other parts of the plant that we normally don’t eat.
Additionally, many types of plants that utilize the stock and root are used for natural healing purposes. Also, as plants grow, oxygen is generated from the leaf of the plant for us to breathe. Whether plants that we grow in space can generate enough oxygen for us to survive is questionable at this stage. Nether the less, growing plants is an essential aspect of living in space for extended periods of time.