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Germans grow first vegetables in Antarctic greenhouse

A group of German scientists have successfully grown their first vegetables on Antarctica including amongst others lettuce, cucumbers and radishes.

Researchers at Germany’s Neumayer Station III say they’ve picked 3.6 kilograms (8 pounds) of salad greens, 18 cucumbers and 70 radishes grown inside a high-tech greenhouse as temperatures outside dropped below -20 degrees Celsius (-4 Fahrenheit).

The plants were grown without soil, daylight or pesticides as part of a project designed to help astronauts cultivate fresh food on other planets. Photo: German Aerospace Centre DLR
The plants were grown without soil, daylight or pesticides as part of a project designed to help astronauts cultivate fresh food on other planets. Photo: German Aerospace Centre DLR

The researchers are working with the EDEN-ISS project in association with the German Aerospace Centre DLR, which coordinates the project. The hope to harvest 4-5 kilograms of fruit and vegetables a week by May this year.

3.6 kilograms (8 pounds) of salad greens, 18 cucumbers and 70 radishes were grown inside this high-tech greenhouse on Antarctica. Photo: German Aerospace Centre DLR
3.6 kilograms (8 pounds) of salad greens, 18 cucumbers and 70 radishes were grown inside this high-tech greenhouse on Antarctica. Photo: German Aerospace Centre DLR

While NASA has successfully grown greens on the International Space Station, DLR’s Daniel Schubert says the Antarctic project aims to produce a wider range of vegetables that might one day be grown on Mars or the Moon.

Germans grow first vegetables in Antarctic greenhouse. Photo: German Aerospace Centre DLR
Germans grow first vegetables in Antarctic greenhouse. Photo: German Aerospace Centre DLR

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