26 Jun 2011

Plants grown in space station

12:08 pm on 26 June 2011

Scientists working with the International Space Station say they're very pleased with the results of an experiment to grow plants in space.

For decades, the United States and Russia have been trying to make astronauts self-sufficient by growing their own food.

Italian astronaut Paolo Nespoli has successfully grown plants in a tiny greenhouse. He said that out of 14 seed modules, two plants germinated and grew on.

Italian and American scientists say plants can be grown without the Earth's gravity, using specialised water, soil and lighting techniques.

The experiment was designed at an aerospace facility near Rome.

The scientists are working on building a giant pod-like greenhouse which in the future could be taken to the moon to grow plants for longer voyages to the Moon and Mars.