Researchers Grow ‘Space Lettuce’ That May Help Astronauts Maintain Bone Health

A brand new examine has advised that ‘area lettuce’ may help astronauts preserve robust bone well being throughout lengthy journeys. The examine, carried out by researchers from the College of California, Davis, noticed the creation of an experimental pressure of lettuce that they are saying may help these staying in area for lengthy durations to take care of good bone well being. Staying in area on lengthy journeys is a tricky job. A number of points associated to bodily and psychological well being are required to be addressed earlier than astronauts make a visit to area.

Astronauts endure rigorous coaching to stay in form throughout their mission deployment. Nonetheless, there are elements past their management that would have an effect on their well being. As an example, lengthy publicity to microgravity quickly weakens bones. Some research say astronauts might lose about 1 p.c of the mass of some bones each month in area. And, on their return, restoration might take some time on Earth.

NASA’s well-known Twins Examine states that area journey would possibly impression gene expression that in flip might have an effect on bone well being. Astronauts do workouts to mitigate these results.

However the brand new analysis, introduced this week at a gathering of the American Chemical Society, states that ‘area lettuce’ produces a drugs that incorporates a fraction of human parathyroid hormone (PTH) peptide, which helps stimulate bone progress, amongst different features.

Injecting PTH to astronauts to deal with bone loss may not be a super long-term resolution to delay their keep in area, particularly to far-off locations like Mars. However they will develop this lettuce simply and eat it commonly to take care of their bone well being.

“Astronauts can carry transgenic seeds, which are very tiny — you can have a few thousand seeds in a vial about the size of your thumb — and grow them just like regular lettuce,” examine writer Somen Nandi, a chemical engineer, said in an announcement.

Astronauts have already grown Earth-like lettuce on the International Space Station (ISS). Whereas staying in area, they reside on processed and packaged rations resembling fruits, nuts, chocolate, shrimp cocktails, peanut butter, and hen, and so forth. Growing lettuce has opened prospects for different greens to be grown sometime.

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