In the 1980s, Israeli researchers came up with a major breakthrough in the field of agricultural science. They developed a better way to grow plants, using a process that required virtually no water and very little soil. In the succeeding years, aeroponic technology's popularity has only increased as it has started to be used in a growing number and a wide variety of fields. Not only can aeroponics be used to grow plants with a minimal amount of water and soil, there's a substantial body of evidence indicating that food grown using aeroponic techniques is in fact superior to food grown the "old-fashion way" - in the earth.
For several years, NASA has been researching the possibility of using aeroponics in space. In 1997, the U.S. space agency conducted an experiment using Asian beans that had been grown aeroponically. The goal of the experiment was to see how plants grown aeroponically on Earth compared to those grown with the same agricultural technology, but in the zero gravity of space. It turns out that the crops grown in space outperformed those raised on Earth. The success of this experiment has given NASA hope that food crops could actually thrive in outer space. Furthermore, NASA now believes that aeroponic technology can be applied to producing food that can be used on long space missions. Looking even further into the future, aeroponic technology could conceivably be applied to facilitate the colonization of planets. NASA's interest in aeroponics gave the innovative technology a healthy dose of publicity. In the years following the experiment of raising crops in space, the aeroponics movement has taken on a noticeably futuristic image, but with the additional benefit of being useful and usable right now.