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Caring for the diet of astronauts

Members of the team GrowLight with Sławosz Uznański, ESA project astronaut

Members of the team GrowLight with Sławosz Uznański, ESA project astronaut (first on the right)

Can you grow plants in space? Research in this field is planned to be conducted by a team from the Warsaw University of Technology. This project was rewarded in the competition Direction: Space. 

– Our experiment concentrates on using laser light to stimulate growth of seedlings in microgravity conditions – says Yelyzaveta Leshchenko, GrowLight team leader. – Studies on the impact of various laser wavelengths on plant morphology and seedling survival rate aim at development of plan cultivation technology in space – she explains. 

Results of the project L(aser) A(mplitude) S(timulated) P(lant) A(griculture) – LASPA will widen the knowledge on growth conditions in microgravity, opening up new perspectives for future manned space missions, where a self-sufficient system of plant growth will play a key role.

The competition Direction: Space, organised by the New Space Foundation and Foundation Experience and Knowledge, was addressed to students and doctoral students of Polish universities. Their task was to develop a research project which could be conducted at the International Space Station.

Winners of the competition were awarded mentoring, a microgrant of the value of PLN 26 000 to develop a prototype of the experiment and the opportunity to develop the project concept during a study visit to the European Organisation for Nuclear Research CERN, European Space Research and Technology Centre ESA ESTEC and the European Astronaut Centre ESA EAC. Their experiments have a chance of going to space on the International Space Station during an ESA mission which Sławosz Uznański, a project astronaut, will take part in.

The team GrowLight consists mainly of members of the Student Research Group of Photonic Engineering: Yelyzaveta Leshchenko, BSc, Paweł Rukat – students of the Faculty of Mechatronics, Filip Łabaj, MSc – doctoral student of the Faculty of Electronics and Information Technology, Karolina Joachimczyk, MSc – student of the Faculty of Electronics and Information Technology and an invited expert in botany – Katharina Hanke, BA, from the Faculty of Biology of Warsaw University.  

You can follow the work of the team in social media: Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn