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National aSTRONAUT Day 2016

Ag in space-01

May 5, 2016 is the first ever National Astronaut Day! This day celebrates astronauts with the mission to inspire everyone to “reach for the stars.”

May 5th is a special day in the cosmos. On this day in 1961, Astronaut Alan Bartlett Shepard, Jr. was the first American in space. His flight in the Freedom 7 Space capsule lasted approximately 15 minutes and reached a height of 116 miles into the atmosphere.

Space travel has reached further out into the stars since 1961 and is now looking towards Mars. Growing plants is a big part of the plan for reaching Mars safely and sanely. Take a look at the infographic to see which plants have been grown in space and how agriculture works with zero gravity.

  • The red and blue light spectrums are needed for plants to survive.
  • Astronauts have been growing flowers as a step towards growing flowering vegetables, such as tomatoes.
  • Most of the food grown in space has been frozen and sent back to Earth for study. Astronauts were only able to eat what they had grown starting last year.

Learn more about NASA’s Veggie system.

Learn more about National Astronaut Day. 

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