As the debate rages on about where to focus our resources, space exploration or addressing problems on Earth, it’s important to consider the indirect benefits that space exploration can bring to the table. From agriculture to plant science, space exploration has a direct impact on how we grow and produce food, and how we monitor and address global concerns like climate change and food insecurity.
Satellite Monitoring: A Tool for Farmers
Satellite monitoring has proven to be a game-changer for agriculture, offering a birds-eye view of farmlands around the world. Satellites equipped with specialized sensors, such as NASA’s Landsat, the European Space Agency’s Envisat and the Canadian Space Agency’s RADARSAT, can monitor various parameters relevant to agriculture, including soil moisture, precipitation patterns, and plant disease outbreaks. This information helps farmers make better decisions, such as directing irrigation more efficiently and predicting potential food insecurity threats.
Plant Science: A Window into the Future
Not only machines reside in space. Humans have successfully grown plants in low-Earth orbit, providing a unique opportunity to study how plants adapt and evolve in harsh environments. Research conducted by NASA on cotton seeds on the International Space Station will help develop crops with deeper root systems that can access water more efficiently in drought-prone areas.
Farming Technologies: A New Frontier
As humans venture to the moon and eventually Mars, they will need to grow their own food. Space agencies have been developing specialized systems for plant cultivation in space that can also be applied to improve agriculture on Earth. For example, vertical farming, an indoor farming technique that grows crops without soil under LED lights, is becoming a booming industry, producing fresh and healthy crops while reducing the reliance on pesticides and herbicides.
Space Agriculture, Earth Benefits
Space exploration has driven technological advances that can improve agriculture on Earth. From hydroponic and vertical farming, to the development of more resource-efficient crops, space exploration has the potential to tackle food production challenges posed by climate change. The renewed interest in space can only lead to more innovation and solutions for the problems facing our planet.
In conclusion, space exploration and solving problems on Earth are not mutually exclusive. The advancements made in space have a direct impact on how we grow and produce food, and how we monitor and address global concerns. The potential benefits of space exploration should not be overlooked in the ongoing debate.