NASA-Inspired Garden Grows More Plants With Less Light

Rebecca OConnell

Lots of everyday chores that are easy on Earth can be a real pain in space—and something like keeping a spice garden the traditional way is probably more trouble than it's worth (if not impossible).

To solve the problem, and give astronauts access to fresh herbs and leafy greens, engineers at NASA developed the rotary hydroponic garden. Sadly, due to time constraints and limited budgets, the project was never fully realized—until Italian company DesignLibero took the idea and converted it for personal use. The Green Wheel is a modestly sized garden that can hold up to 8 feet of plants. Its sleek design and compact size make it ideal for an apartment or small home. 

The wheel holds the plants at the roots and spins them around once an hour. The inside wheel has coco fiber vases to provide support and keep everything in place. Water is located at the bottom of the circle to allow roots to soak up the moisture. An LED in the center provides light for all the plants. Thanks to the unique setup, one light can do the work of several.