It’s summer, the perfect time for stargazing. But that’s not the only reason we have outer space on our minds this week.
On July 20, 2016 is NASA’s 47th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing. As the world watched, Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin landed on the moon aboard the lunar module Eagle on July 20, 1969.
Since that time, the world has come a long way towards understanding outer space better, and how our farming could benefit from it.
Helping Farmers on Earth
The International Space Center is providing valuable information to farmers, according to NASA. The Space Center’s agricultural camera is capturing frequent images of the Earth, which are relaying valuable information on biomass. These are being delivered faster to farmers than previous remote sensor technology, and are being used to provide data on crop growth and crop yield potential. According to its website:
“In Crookston, A.W.G. Farms Inc. is leveraging images from the International Space Station Agricultural Camera (ISSAC) to grow sugar beets, spring wheat, sunflowers and soybeans. The Upper Midwest Aerospace Consortium, led by the University of North Dakota, operates ISSAC from Earth to help farmers like Gary Wagner monitor crop growth for disease or fertility differences.”
Supporting Precision Farming
NASA is also working with the U.S. Department of Agriculture and NOAA on precision farming technology. According to NASA, “the goal is to improve farmers’ profits and harvest yields while reducing the negative impacts of farming on the environment that come from over-application of chemicals.
Eating Veggies Grown on Mars
Meanwhile, if we do happen to find ourselves on Mars one day, we will probably be able to eat vegetables grown in Martian soil, reports Munchies.
A team of scientists at Wageningen University and Research Center in the Netherlands was recently able to successfully grow edible plants—including radishes, peas, rye and tomatoes—out of simulated Martian soil. Read the story.
Exploring Mars Poster
To get you motivated to make the journey, NASA has created fun, vintage-inspired Mars Explorer recruitment posters that you can download for free.
There’s even one for Mars Farmers. Download it here.