Healthy Fresh foods in Space, Medha L, 6th grade, Ashburn, VA

Updated: Mar 19, 2020

Space is a big topic that everyone is talking about. People want to go to the moon and there is a chance of space hotels opening. Astronauts have been fed dehydrated food to cut costs and transport more food. This food has been proven to not be a nutritious and healthy as normal food you find on the ground. Take a box of cereal, we all know that cereal is bad for us no matter how much vitamins they put in there. It is because it is dehydrated.

Dehydrated food can cause mood swings and overall unhappiness while venturing in space. It can also lead to vitamin deficiencies, that can cause life-threatening consequences. Giving fresh food to them will make their experience better. Right now NASA has successfully grown lettuce with veggie beds in the ISS, which are like pillows that contain nutrients. Although, this has its issues. It took 6 months to grow the plants. This is not sustainable and will cause issues in the future. How can we fix this?

Fungi is something you usually see on an old sandwich or something expired. Most people don’t like fungi, but not all of them harm. One type of fungi called Mycorrhizae fungi have the ability to help a plant grow faster than a usual plant. The fungi grow roots like the ones on plants. Then, the roots stick on to the roots of the host plant and then sucks in nutrients that the host plant would usually not be able to get. Then it gives all those nutrients to the plant allowing it to grow faster and healthier. This means better food that grows faster, but there are no side effects from the chemicals most soil companies put in their soil.

This is not only a solution in space it can be a solution down here too. This can help farmers grow richer and healthier food faster. When I experimented on two tomato plants the results came as expected. The plant that had the fungi grew faster than the one that had no fungi. Then after testing the quality of the tomatoes, we realized that they had a similar nutritional value. The one with the fungi was more nutrient-rich than the other. Astronauts risk their lives every day in space, shouldn’t they get good quality food too?