Fragile Oasis

Connecting Space and Earth: Learn. Act. Make a Difference.

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From the Diary of a Space Zucchini - What Do Dragons Eat?

April 2
Oh no, we have algae root! Our plastic potting bags, being transparent, allow our roots to be soaked in light. That does not particularly bother us, but it allows for some freeloaders to make their home in the dampness of our plastic, aeroponic bags.

So our planter bags are now turning green with colonies of algae. The gardener inspected a green drop of water under a microscope and saw single-celled, elongated, free-swimming algae with two flagella. They make many tiny bubbles of oxygen that stay suspended in the surrounding water. The extra oxygen makes my roots happy. How these stowaways got here is a mystery. Gardener says they were probably on our seeds. In any case, we now have some new friends. I am not certain if they are plant or animal.

April 6
I heard a rumor that a Dragon is coming and the Gardener is going to catch it. He and his crewmates are spending much time preparing for this event. They practice right next to our grow light so we can watch them train. This looks like serious business. I guess when you are dealing with dragons you have to be careful. At first I was worried about having a dragon onboard but then I remembered that they only eat meat.

April 10
What is Gardener up to? He only gave us a brief glance this morning. Sunflower, Broccoli, and I are getting thirsty. Our aeroponic bags only hold about 50 milliliters of water and they are quickly drying up. He usually adds about 30 each morning. By afternoon our leaves were wilting. They do not droop under the pull of gravity like leaves on Earth plants. They simply float like pieces of green crinkled paper. Perhaps Gardener did not notice. By evening, he was shocked when he saw us. How could we dry out in only one day he said? I could tell he felt really bad. He was busy with the dragon preparations. We got watered and our leaves inflated within minutes.

Even Sunflower with a scrawny ½ meter long stalk inflated his leaves in short order. It is amazing how quickly our vascular bundles can transport water to where it’s needed.