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The problem we are going to face in near future is not sending humans to outer space but to sustain life there. The basic necessities of life are often mistaken to be limited to oxygen only but food is the most important need for life after it. As SpaceX has promised to send humans to Mars by 2025, they surely will have solution to provide food and shelter there with all basic necessities.
Before SpaceX or NASA could come up to address the issue, a team of researchers from University of Guelph in Ontaria has come up with incredible way to grow food in space. They have found out that by using LED technology, food can be grown in space with maximum efficiency.
Plants require specific heat, temperature and light emissions to grow naturally. They do so by taking best of the combination from sun light and surrounding environment. Scientists discovered that if they could possibly build artificially such a controlled environment, it will be possible to grown plants anywhere in the universe. The research is taking place in Controlled Environment Systems Research Facility at the University, where the team is working with LEDs to maximize the growth rate. LEDs generally can produce high efficiency of lightening and desired wave length with very less photons of light. If the desired results are obtained, researchers will come up with the combination of visible and ultraviolet rays that will help grown plants with maximum efficiency.
For the time being, lettuce plant is being grown in laboratory controlled environment, because its relatively low maintenance plant and grows quickly. After the success of growth, researchers are confident to grow fruit plants including cherry tomatoes and strawberries. It is said with boosted confidence that the new LED sourced energy will help grown substantial amount of food to be grown in space in next 20 years.