People have long dreamed about space flights, about conquering the universe, about traveling to distant galaxies. But on any long journey you need to take a large set of products with you. And if the flight is planned for years? Scientists have an idea to create a greenhouse on a spaceship that will provide travelers not only with vegetables and fruits, but also with oxygen and water ... It's easy to think of, but how to implement it?
The first idea - to grow plants in space - was put forward by the founder of cosmonautics Konstantin Tsiolkovsky. Long before the start of manned flights, he said that in the future, plants will become the main source of food and maintain the atmosphere on spaceships. He came up with and made a sketch of how to solve the problem of weightlessness and lack of gravity in space.
“Imagine a long conical surface or funnel, the base or wide opening of which is covered by a transparent spherical surface. It is directly facing the Sun, and the funnel rotates around its long axis (height). On the opaque inner walls of the cone there is a layer of moist soil with plants planted in it. ”
In this work, K.E. Tsiolkovsky described in detail not only how to artificially create gravity for plants, but also thought about what kind of plants they should be: fertile, small, without thick trunks. According to his idea, such plants will be able to provide the colonizers of space with biologically active substances and microelements, as well as regenerate oxygen and water.
Many decades before space flights, Konstantin Eduardovich understood the problem that astronauts faced in the future - from canned and freeze-dried food, many of them lost their appetite, began depression and ate only because it was necessary to maintain strength.
The first to draw attention to this was the Norwegian biologist Sile Wolf, who could not find a logical explanation - why astronauts often lose weight in flight. The reason was simple - lack of appetite.
The earliest plants that have been in space are corn, wheat, peas and onions. For the first time, the seeds of these plants ascended into Earth's orbit in August 1960 - seventy years ago. This flight was very unusual. It is known as the flight of the famous dogs Belka and Strelka, who not only traveled to space, but also returned safely to earth. But not everyone knows that, together with two dogs, forty mice, two rats and plant seeds visited this flight.
The first plant grown and eaten in space is a common green onion. This happened in 1978 on the Salyut-4 space station. Cosmonauts Vladimir Kovalenok and Alexander Ivanchenkov managed to grow onion feathers in the Oasis plant.
The experiment involved not only growing a plant, but also achieving the flowering process and obtaining seeds. The central flight control center has authorized the cutting of a few feathers of the onion to keep it from rotting. Only later it became known that the cosmonauts ate part of the onion without the permission of their superiors - the desire for real plant food was so strong. Now this installation "Oasis-1" is in the Memorial Museum of Cosmonautics.