You can’t colonize the cosmos without a balanced breakfast.
NASA needs your help figuring out how to grow gardens and crops in outer space.
To that end, the space agency's so-called "Growing Beyond Earth" contest is now open for submissions. The challenge is to come up with a design for a "3D growing space" that fits within a 50-centimeter cube and can help supply astronauts on future missions into space with fresh fruits and vegetables.
According to a South Florida Sun Sentinel story, NASA and its partner organization, the Fairchild Tropical Botanical Garden, broke the space garden contest down into three categories: high school, college, and professional.
Contest organizers will select a winner from each category after the Valentine's Day 2020 deadline for designs. At that point, each winning group will build a prototype of their space garden for a final competition.
Plenty of plants have already been grown in space, including crop plants such as lettuce.
But reliably and efficiently growing crops in space, where plants aren't bound by gravity but will still stretch outward toward a light source, still remains a challenge ripe for new solutions.
READ MORE: NASA needs your help: Do you know how to grow plants in space? [South Florida Sun Sentinel]
More on space plants: Astronauts on the International Space Station Eat Food They Grew Themselves in Space