ASGSB 2003 Annual Meeting Abstracts


GROWTH OF MIXED SALAD CROPS IN A TYPICAL ISS ENVIRONMENT.  J. O. Wilkinson1 and Neil C. Yorio21Texas A&M University, College Station, 2Dynamac Corporation, Kennedy Space Center, FL.

   In the development of a “salad machine” as part of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration Advanced Life Support (ALS) system, it is expedient that appropriate plants are selected to be grown together under an open International Space Station (ISS) environment.  A series of tests were designed to determine the compatibility of three candidate salad crops to be grown in mixed communities aboard the ISS for crew consumption.  Radish, lettuce, and onion plants were grown inside a controlled environment chamber in monoculture (control) and mixed-crop hydroponic trays. Environmental conditions within the chamber were maintained at 25°C air temperature, 50% relative humidity, 12-hour photoperiod with cool white fluorescent lamps, and carbon dioxide concentration of 1200 mmol mol-1.  These environmental conditions are presumed to reflect that of an open cabin environment aboard the ISS. Weekly harvests and measurements were taken over 28 days of growth. Allelopathic effects were not observed between different species in mixed crop treatments. No negative growth responses were observed between any of the mixed-crop species compared to the monoculture control.  However, radish showed a strong positive growth response in nearly all parameters measured.  These results may be attributed to earlier maturity of radish than the other crops in conjunction with greater light interception due to greater canopy coverage. These findings will be useful in the design and development of a “salad machine” for use on ISS or long-duration space missions.


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