Contemplating plants is one way to contemplate our own heritage. Ten or twenty years ago (less if you’re living on a working farm), your family’s ability to survive and thrive was connected to skillful cultivation of plants. Nowadays, we usually purchase our veggies from grocers. When we do buy them, instead of growing our own, it’s hard to know where the plants came from.
There is a sense of being detached from the processes that plants go through while they are being grown. This lack of familiarity with plant growth processes grows more pronounced when we purchase foods which are prepared.
Many wheat-based foods that we purchase are packaged as crackers, pasta, bread, cereal, cookies, etc. We also tend to purchase plenty of potatoes when we grab chips or fries from grocery stores, convenience stores and fast food chains. Lettuce is usually bundled up for us, bunch by bunch, and then wrapped in a neat covering of plastic. We may also purchase lettuce pre-shredded at salad bars. Usually, soybeans are already turned into veggie oil, soybean meal, soy milk or tofu when we buy them.
As humans, we cultivate the planet to meet our needs and wants. Plant growth is extremely important in terms of meeting our needs and wants. Also, our ability to grow plants affects our ability to feed livestock.
Now, picture yourself on a Mars base or Moon base! Imagine spending long periods of time there (weeks, months or years), or doing some other type of space mission, such as a long-term mission which involves solar system travel.
If you were in space, you’d probably find a bin of planted grains, potatoes or soybeans very comforting to have along for the ride. They’d continue to live and grow as your space mission unfolded and they would remind you of your origins. As well, even more importantly, they would produce nutrients, release oxygen and respirate potable water.
Plants Are Time-honored Companions
Earth-based homes and offices often feature plants of the potted type. The plants function as pretty decorations. They are also natural humidifiers which freshen the air in home and officer interiors. Human spacemen and women will probably consider plants which grow in space to be beautiful, valuable and compatible “buddies”.
When we plan our weekly schedules, we usually plan out upcoming meals. This means making a shopping list and buying processed and perishable foods at a favorite grocery store. If we’re on a base on Mars or the Moon, or doing some other form of long-haul space mission, we need to plan things out beforehand, too.
This means selecting, planting, growing and then depending on the right crops.
Appropriate crops for space missions will boost oxygen and deliver moisture and nutrients. Planning the cultivation of “space crops” which consist of earthly plants needs to start very early on.
With this in mind, NASA’s Sponsored Classroom of the Future iPad app, which is called BLiSS, is meant to assist aspiring space travelers with learning how to plant the types of growth systems which support human crews for long time frames, when regular re-supply is not an option.
It’s quite probable that human being who travel to Mars or the moon are going to bring plants with them on their exciting journeys. Researchers who have NASA support are currently learning about the way that greenhouses function on non-Earth planets! You may find out more about this by reading our science news story from NASA.
The BLiSS application is centered on NASA-sponsored research called the Bioregenerative Life Support System. The research happened at a range of NASA centers and academic facilities. It was mainly supported by a branch of the Kennedy Space Center (in Florida, USA) known as the Biological Sciences Branch.
Right now, the BLiSS app is being developed by COTF, at the Wheeling Jesuit University. It is being developed based on a CD-ROM which was launched back in 1999. The CD-ROM featured education for biology and it won awards. It was called BioBLAST(R).
In addition, the BLiSS application is a facet of COTF’s MoonWorld simulation. MoonWorld is a virtual world.
The diagram shown here displays the ways that human beings and plants depend on each other (and interconnect) when they are both present within a biological system which is controlled. For example, plant and human respiration processes both provide water and CO2 which is mandatory for plant life.
Via photosynthesis, plants take in CO2 and H2O which are expelled by people, as well as energy from light which is sun-derived or derived from light sources which are artificial, in order to make food (carbs), potable water and oxygen. All three of these elements are very important to human survival!
If you dream of exploring space, we think that you should download and then play this exciting app for iPad today. The BLiSS app is now available and it’s a great way to move beyond planning weekly meals, towards planning a plant-based life support system for astronauts. Your BLiSS system could support your crew and yourself as you all spend long periods of time in space. The right plant-based system will be a life support system which is bioregenerative. It will help plants and people who are not able to access the human-friendly climate of Earth, as well as Earth’s soil and protective atmosphere.
Be sure to check out the screen shot that we’ve posted here. It comes from the BLiSS sim for iPad and displays a group of 4 bins of lettuce which equal sixty-four m2 planted. The settings for the plants haven’t been run yet, so information about this crop of lettuce isn’t shown. When the button marked, “RUN” is chosen, information about the lettuce crop will be shown. Data which is more detailed will be presented within the page called, “RESULTS”, which is found underneath the icon labelled, “BLiSS”, which is found near the top of the picture.
This app is fun to use and it’s also really educational, so why not give it a try today?