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A vegetable garden in orbit. It's Italian

It will allow optimal nutrition in long-lasting space missions

Enea (Italian Agency for New Technologies, Energy and Sustainable Economic Development), the "Federico II" University of Naples and the "Sapienza" University of Rome are the entities that participated in the realization of the prototype of a micro-vegetable garden to grow fresh vegetables for future space exploration, six thousand km from the Earth.

Enea -AVIONEWS notes it- is a public research body that operates in the energy, environment and new technologies sectors in support of competitiveness and sustainable development policies, supervised by the Italian Ministry of Economic Development (MISE). Designed by an all-Italian scientific team, the prototype is called Greencube and will be contained for the first time on board a mini satellite -AVIONEWS writes it-  which will be launched on the occasion of the inaugural flight of the official Vega-C carrier of the European Space Agency (ESA).

Greencube measures 30x10x10 cm and is based on closed-cycle hydroponic crops capable of guaranteeing a complete growth phase of micro-vegetables for 20 days of experimentation, selected from those most suitable to withstand extreme extraterrestrial conditions. The "Sapienza" University of Rome also played the role as coordinator and holder of an agreement with the Italian Space Agency (ASI).

Commenting on the potential of the prototype, Luca Nardi, a researcher at the Enea Biotechnology Laboratory, said: "The project is part of the Enea mission to transfer the results of scientific research to industry and public administrations with a view to economic development sustainable, in this case through skills, infrastructures and professionalism gained in the cultivation in closed and confined environments of fresh vegetables for industrial use and in extreme environments, such as the space".

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AVIONEWS - World Aeronautical Press Agency