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NASA Research Boosts LED Lights to Grow Food on Space


Published on: December 22, 2021,

Growing food inside a satellite has been a subject of fantasy. For longer space missions NASA needs to develop ways to grow food without relying on sunlight as they have to travel to other planets and the moon. NASA funded two professors Thomas Jefferson University’s George Brainard, and Harvard Medical School’s Steven Lockley, to learn more about growing food from lightbulbs.


Their research found that exposure to blue light could affect body’s production of melatonin a key hormone for managing circadian rhythms and could affect eyes. Thus NASA looked to the growing fields of solid state light emitting diodes ( LED’s). It meant that there’s no physical reaction creating light, unlike an incandescent bulb or fluorescent plasma. Researcher’s at Johnson and engineers at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida worked together on the Solid-State Lighting Assembly (SSLA) for the space station. The light module was primarily built by Bionetics Corporation which had labs. The changes worked as Astronauts felt well rested and light providing the right wavelengths for photosynthesis.


VividGro’s lamps use specific wavelengths to induce biological reaction in living organisms. Instead of managing human biorhythms, however, they’re tuned exactly to the right frequencies to power plant metabolism. LED technology is so efficient they use much less energy than fluorescent options, which consumes less 50% less electricity than high intensity discharge lamps previously used at indoor greenhouses.


The company’s Flower Max line is intended to provide for flowering plants while VegMax lights are designed for growing vegetables like lettuce. Even after more than ten decades of development, it can be believed that there’s more that can be done with LEDs.


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