Lettuce and LEDs: Shedding New Light On Space Farming

Ask most astronauts and cosmonauts what type of food they miss most on the International Space Station and they’ll tell you fresh salads are a culinary commodity craved in orbit. That situation, however, soon could change. Researchers here at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center are parlaying the technology used to develop the latest traffic signals into a salad machine that could enable station crews to grow and harvest their own greens within the next three years. What’s more, the type of advanced lighting systems now used in sprawling airplane maintenance facilities, automotive assembly lines and semiconductor clean rooms are being tested for potential use at Martian greenhouses.