Home   News

Soybeans In Space? MN Soybean Leaders Visit NASA Facility

Prior to Commodity Classic, American Soybean Association Director and Minnesota farmer George Goblish and Minnesota Soybean Director of Market Development Kim Nill participated in a field trip to the NASA Vegetable Production System (aka the “Veggie Lab”) facility near Orlando.  

This NASA facility, overseen by Dr. Gioia Massa, has long researched the challenges of growing plants on the International Space Station (ISS).  It is now addressing which crops will be grown during the upcoming NASA mission to Mars.

Kim Nill had been corresponding about NASA’s earlier growing of soybeans in space with the previous Director of NASA’s Veggie Lab, during the past two decades as part of the various positions he held within ASA and the U.S. Soybean Export Council.

Dr. Massa noted one of the crucial lessons they learned growing plants on the ISS is that water and soil particles (e.g., from dead plant root removal post-harvest) must be controlled, so that neither dust nor water droplets “float” around the spacecraft in zero gravity.  Thus, they invented sponge-like “pillows” to hold water near roots, and they invented the hollow plastic “screw” shown in photo, with which to remove dead plant roots post-harvest while containing the soil around those roots.

Click here to see more...

Trending Video

Nation's Farmers Continue Gradual Shift to No Till

Video: Nation's Farmers Continue Gradual Shift to No Till

Northwest Missouri farmer John Hickman remembers motorists slowing down to stare as they passed his first no-till field in 1983. The practice of leaving crop ground undisturbed until planting was uncommon enough that a lot of rubber-necking took place.