International space station to start farm experiments with Russian conservatory

A Progress M1 cargo ship is starting for the international space station from Kazakhstan's Baikonur tomorrow to deliver a Lada conservatory of Russian design and manufacture for experimental orbital farming.

The Russian station part has never before had a conservatory, says Margarita Levinskikh, senior researcher of the Moscow-based Institute of Medical and Biological Studies.

The Mir station had a conservatory, and similar botanical experiments were made before it was disorbited last year, with two wheat generations harvested in weightlessness, though work with rice, peas and salad was a failure. Upcoming tests will focus on vegetables of the kind eaten raw to make a welcome addition to pilots' diet in long flights-Martian expeditions, for instance.

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