Talking about the art of growing marijuana, people often say that pretty much everyone can try it as it is not rocket science. Well, now it is. At least, partly.
A former NASA researcher Neil Yorio has decided to apply the latest scientific achievements to the process of growing cannabis. He is working on elaborating plant-based life-support systems for long space missions. This project is similar to the way Mark Whitney (from the novel/movie The Martian) was growing his potato garden, but of course, it involves a bigger variety of plants that can give not only food to the crew but also provide oxygen for the air, remove carbon dioxide from it, and in some cases also help purify water.
One of the biggest problems with the project of plant-based life-support system is to find the optimal way to decrease the weight of all the necessary elements. Lifting things off to the space stations is extremely expensive, so every single thing should be useful, effective, and lightweight. This is how the idea of using LED light appeared.
"It didn't have glass, it lasts a long time, had the potential to be very energy efficient, and didn't contain any hazardous materials,” Yorio told Motherboard. Yorio used to work in NASA's Bio Regenerative Life Support Systems program, but now he is managing the LED lighting for the agricultural sector at BIOS.
LED light can be applied for the needs of both humans and plants. It gives the same amount of light but uses 40 percent less electricity. That is why it has become so popular these days. Today, you can see LED lights used not only in NASA missions but also in everyday life: they are used in lamps, cars, televisions, digital billboards, and, of course, agriculture.
The thing is, most plants absorb a small specter of light, pretty much the same as the humans can see with their own eyes. There is no sense in providing them with an extra-wide specter if they have no use of it. The wider the specter, the more electricity it consumes, and this is just a waste of money.
For example, high-pressure sodium lighting, which is very popular today among cannabis growers, provides a wide range of light that is simply useless for photosynthesis. Moreover, such lamps usually contain mercury, which is not only expensive and difficult in manufacturing but also dangerous to use and not eco-friendly when it comes to recycling.
For most growers, the price of the lighting can be essential. However, while the price for a single LED lamp can be higher than, for instance, an HID lamp, LED lighting is more effective and less expensive overall. They can serve for over ten years, and for 1,000 square foot canopy, you will only need about 60 lights.
Not all LED lights are the same, and this causes the biggest doubts among cannabis users. Unfortunately, there are no standards and almost no information about the quality and features of this kind of lighting, and growers simply may decide not to risk buying this product.
Indeed, LED light affects all of the other sides of the growing process. This light provides significantly less heat than other lights, and that impacts the amount of used water, the necessity of fan installation, and the amount of nutrients the plants may need. A high-quality LED light can make revolutionary results for cannabis when it comes to the simplicity and efficiency of the growing process. After all, why not take the best from NASA technologies if we can?