Still curious? Read more: Rocket salad: growing plants in space
Space agencies have been experimenting with growing plants on spacecraft for decades. Back here on Earth we’re reaping the benefits. Vertical farming, in which plants are grown in stacked trays with an electric light source, was first developed by scientists at Kennedy Space Center. It’s especially useful for areas which have limited water, poor soil, or little room for plants to grow, and is now used across the globe.
1960: Plant material first launched into space on unmanned vehicles
1971: Plants grown on manned spacecraft
1973: Ornamental plants grown in space
1974: Space-grown crop eaten by humans
1982: Flowering of plants in space
2014: NASA develops a plant-growth system to grow food in space
2017: Plant growing technology developed for space continues to benefit us on Earth.