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Chinese astronauts managed to grow tomatoes and lettuce in space: it's important for future missions

Dmytro IvancheskulNews
Astronauts managed to grow tomatoes in space. Source: Illustrative photo

Chinese astronauts from the Shenzhou-16 mission, who returned to Earth after several months in space, managed to grow lettuce, tomatoes, and green onions aboard the Tiangong space station of the China National Space Administration (CNSA).

This was reported by Space.com. The achievement of the Chinese gives hope that humanity will be able to grow fresh vegetables on the Moon and Mars.

As it became known, the lettuce was planted back in June. Then the astronauts managed to harvest four crops. In August, cherry tomatoes and green onions were planted, which also yielded a harvest.

China's mission to grow terrestrial crops in zero gravity is an important part of the country's space ambitions. As you know, China, like other countries around the world, is seeking to send its astronauts on long-term space missions that cannot be dependent on food imports from Earth.

Yang Renze, a scientist at the China Astronaut Research and Training Center, said that the device that allowed growing vegetables in space "is a key part of the entire Environmental Control and Life Support System (ECLSS)" and is used in space to test relevant technologies.

According to him, in the future, Chinese scientists intend to focus on "rapid and large-scale cultivation" of food.

The system Renze is talking about is essentially a safe, habitable and sustainable environment that will allow people to survive in space for long missions.

As the scientist explained, the plants will not only provide astronauts with fresh food but will also absorb carbon dioxide from the air and produce oxygen through photosynthesis. They are also expected to regenerate and purify water through transpiration (evaporation of water from the surface of plants).

The development is important for China if it ultimately intends to carry out missions into deep space, as well as establish a base on the Moon or even Mars.

Earlier, OBOZ.UA spoke about NASA experiments that showed whether it is possible to plant and grow potatoes on Mars.

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