What do plants need to grow well?

In our recently accepted article, we discuss the stressors that limit plant growth in Earth and Space. With future space missions to Mars predicted to last 3+ years, how do we ensure that astronauts are able to fulfill their dietary needs?

Conditions in Space are highly variable compared to that on Earth. Extremes in temperature, dangerous radiation and lack of easily accessible or transportable resources means that engineering solutions are critical to support planetary exploration. But what does this mean for our plants? In comparison to conditions in Space, Earth is relatively sheltered, and as such, plants have adapted to almost all conditions and environments. But life on Earth also comes with some restrictions and there is little evidence to understand the response to plants once these restrictions are removed.

Our review, ‘Eustress in Space: Opportunities for Plant Stressors beyond the Earth Ecosystem’, provides an overview of the different stressors imposed on plants on Earth and in Space. But this also raises an intriguing question; can Space conditions be exploited to improve plant growth?

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