© Osram Business | June 04, 2018
NASA taps Osram to support its food production research
Osram’s smart horticulture lighting system prototype will be used in NASA ground research to help provide space crews with a reliable source of fresh food.
The lighting specialist is providing the NASA with a customised version of its connected horticulture research lighting system, Phytofy RL. The smart lighting software, coupled with a setup of connected grow light fixtures, will supplement the lighting technology used in NASA’s Food Production Research focused on production of salad-type crops for crews during space travel, according to a press release. “Osram is developing smart, innovative lighting technologies that can improve food production in a variety of environments, even unique environments like space,” said Steve Graves, Strategic Program Manager of Urban & Digital Farming, Osram Innovation, Americas Region. “Many of the world’s coolest and most beneficial inventions have come from scientists at NASA over the past several decades, and to play a role in empowering further innovation through the use of our technologies is an honor. We are excited about the possibilities Phytofy RL will bring to a wide variety of horticulture applications, and our teams are excited to continue learning and refining its setup before ultimately bringing this exclusive solution to market within the next year.” Osram’s smart horticulture lighting system is being piloted through a series of collaborations with universities and research labs around the world that are using the technologies and sharing insights. At NASA, Phytofy RL will allow researchers to easily adjust lighting conditions to optimize plant growth in various conditions and then replicate those settings in the Advanced Plant Habitat on the International Space Station, meeting the needs of space food production. Installation of Phytofy RL within a growth chamber at Kennedy Space Centre in Florida was completed recently, with plans to move the configuration to one or more of the Centre’s walk-in plant grow rooms. Via radiation with light of different wavelengths, the growth cycles of plants can be controlled and accelerated, allowing the plants to be harvested either more often or as required. Special light recipes optimise not only yield and growing time but also can increase the amount of vitamins and nutrients in the plant, and can enhance certain tastes and flavours.
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