LED lighting could be the answer to long term exploration, with NASA looking at unitlising LED lighting to help produce food and plant life for future visits to distant locations like Mars. Lighting could also help astronauts avoid sleep deprivation by mimicking their circadian rhythm to improve sleep and wake cycles whilst they travel in space.
NASA Technology Kennedy Space Center has been known as America’s spaceport for more than 50 years. From Project Mercury to recent commercial-space missions, the nation has witnessed many amazing launches from the Space Coast to low-Earth orbit and beyond. But another, not-so-well-known area of Kennedy’s expertise is in something not typically sent on its launches: plants. Vegetable-growing experiment aboard the International Space Station The newest plant-growing experiment on the International Space Station (ISS), Veggie, went live in May of 2014. Veggie uses LED lighting to stimulate plant growth and will provide fresh lettuce and produce to astronauts on the ISS. Because NASA is planning for future visits to distant locations like Mars, however, the agency is researching how to grow plants in space. Live plants would be valuable on space missions because they provide a nutritious food source; offer astronauts a familiar feature from home; provide a pleasurable activity—gardening—while in space; and contribute to cleaning air in a spacecraft.