NASA gets a green thumb (with a little help from chemistry)

A gardening astronaut. Yes it’s true- growing produce in space is possible because of a polymer coating, fertilizer, and a successful partnership between chemical innovator BASF, fertilizer manufacturer Florikan, and NASA.

With astronauts in space for long periods of time, often 12 months or more, growing produce in space is better and tastes better than powdered and packaged foods.

The fertilizer which makes that magic happen is called FlorikanCRF and is coated with polymers made by BASF – chemical timers that control when and how much of each ingredient is released over a period of time.

The advancement of this technology has grown produce in space, but it also is beneficial for the agriculture industry here on earth. A defining characteristic of FlorikanCRF, proving valuable in space and on earth, is the ability to control the release of nutrients for 180 days or longer, and to ensure that nutrients go straight to the plant.

A successful investment in space technology, growing produce in a space station without light and soil is another step towards sustaining life in space and possibly even on other planets. And, with a growing demand for food, limited fertile land, and an environmentally conscious society, FlorikanCRF is making life better right here at home too.

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