US navy researchers conduct tests to grow vegetables on submarines

Lab is experimenting with hydroponics to prolong gardens in conditions where fresh produce just last up to 10 periods into a three-month deployment

A navy research lab is working on a brand-new programme that could allow deployed sailors to finally develop fresh veggies on submarines.

Engineering technician and 30 -year navy ex-serviceman Don Holman is testing whether hydroponics can be used to sustain gardens on submarines at the armys Natick Soldier Research Development and Engineering Center, located on the outskirts of Boston.

Fresh veggies only last the first seven to 10 days of submarine deployment, which tend to be three months. After that, sailors have to resort to frozen fruit and vegetables.

Holman is currently testing developing veggies in a 40 -foot container at the research facility, use roughly seven-foot LED illuminations. The receptacles are kitted out with a central computer, that allows the researchers to control the temperature, humidity and CO2 concentration. Hydroponics allow for controlling the amount of nutrients in the liquid as well as the pH of the liquid.

He tested 83 veggies in the first phase of testing and found that 51 of them were able to grow, such as different kinds of lettuce, kale and some root veggies.

Others werent suited to the confined space and temperature, such as tomatoes, which required more hot, and cucumbers, which developed out of control and tangled around the illuminating.

The $ 100,000 research project was suffer out of a hackathon at the Under Sea Warfare Center where sailors said they wanted salads to be served on submarines. Holman said furnishing fresh meat will act as a morale booster and help the navy hold sailors.

Sailors with good morale are productive sailors. Its a win-win, Holman said.[ The navy] is more aware of what the sailors regards are, theyre addressing the quality of life issues to help retain them and stir them more productive.

The main hurdle facing Holman will be how to get the gardens onto submarines that have limited space. He is confident the present 40 ft receptacle example “couldve been” scaled down but submariners hes spoken with have shown mistrust.

Retired navy captain Ronald Steed, a former sub skipper, told the Associated Press it would be a real objection to fit a garden-variety on a submarine, where space is highly tight, but if they could do it, that would be awesome.

Steed showed doubts over how much it could feed a crew of 170 on board a submarine for three months.

Testing on the hydroponic gardens will end in September and Holman will submit a technical report to the navy, who will decide if they wish to implement it on submarines.

It wont be the first time veggies are grown in inhospitable homes. Last-place year, Nasas astronaut took the first gnaw of lettuce grown in space. It was grown at the International Space Station as part of a Nasa experiment use chambers of clay, fertilizer and liquid.

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