Giant space vegetables grown from seeds sent into space have been grown in China.
In 2006, 2,000 seeds were blasted into space in a Shijan 8 satellite (see Chinese 'Seed Satellite'). After germinating, the best seeds were then selected for further breeding.
The harvest includes extra-large pumpkins, two-foot long cucumbers, fourteen pound aubergines and chili plants that resemble small trees. Looks like you might want to order the small-sized portion of take-out the next time you are in orbit (see International Space Station To Get Japanese Take-Out).
The plants are claimed to offer harvests that are higher than normal; important news for China, a country with limited arable land and 1.3 billion people.
Science fiction writers have imagined how plants might be cultivated in space. In his 1989 novel Tides of Light, science fiction author Gregory Benford referred to lifezones, special growth pods that could be attached to a space ship:
The bulbous lifezones huge bubbles extruded from the sleek
lines of the Argo, like immense, bruised bodies of parasites. Inside, their
opalescent walls ran with dewdrops, shimmering moist jewels hanging a bare
finger's width away from hard vacuum.
(Read more about lifezones)
(This Science Fiction in the News story used with permission of Technovelgy.com)
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