NASA uses ‘innovative’ lighting system to grow crops in space

14:21 SGT June 12, 2018
Osram’s smart horticulture lighting system prototype used in NASA ground research to help provide space crews with a reliable source of fresh food

Osram, a global high-tech lighting company, said it is providing the US National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) with a customised version of its proprietary connected horticulture research lighting system, Phytofy RL.

“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 programme 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 honour. 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 set-up before ultimately bringing this exclusive solution to market within the next year.”

The smart lighting software, coupled with a unique set-up of connected grow light fixtures, will supplement the lighting technology used in NASA’s food production research, which focused on the cultivating of salad-type crops for crews during space travel. All software, hardware and LEDs in Phytofy were developed by Osram, which also created a broad portfolio of horticulture LEDs that irradiate the specific wavelengths needed for optimum growth of a wide variety of plants and flowers, allowing the light to be adapted specifically for the needs of various crops.