When we think back on the changes that have occurred within Living with the Land our memories are drawn to the changes in the music, the gargantuan vines that were part of the Symphony of the Seed, and the more recent shift from live guides to a recorded version. These weren’t the only shifts to take place, however. One of my favorite portions of the attraction that has since moved on goes back to its 1993 overhaul, the lettuce drum.
That’s right, I loved and miss this little beauty from the Creative Greenhouse. It was one of the more intriguing corners of the Listen to the Land version of the attraction and sought to highlight the connection between the work being done at The Land and the future of agriculture in outer space. The way the lettuce drum worked was that the force provided by the spinning of the drum would replicate the pull of gravity on the soil, seeds, and plants that lined the interior of the experiment. This pull would allow for roots to grow in a single direction and not get tangled with one another if being grown in a weightless environment. The gravitational spin would, as alluded to above, also ensure that the plants did not fall out.
While this was a large experiment that The Land took part in, and it took up a fair amount of space in the Creative Greenhouse, it was truly a scale model for what was being dreamed about in the future. Stepping over to Horizons’ Brava Centauri, there were several windows where you could see out into the world inside the space colony’s spinning sphere. There were sports fields, work and living environments, and even crops. Utilizing the principles present in the small scale activities seen in The Land’s lettuce drum, those who were visualizing the space colonies of tomorrow believed that large scale reproduction could be achieved.
That connection between The Land and NASA was always one I treasured and gave me dreams of where we would be when I became an adult. Sure, there’s no space station with a gravity wheel being utilized for agriculture, but there’s always tomorrow. With the Creative Greenhouse at Living with the Land always tweaking their experiments, there’s no telling what dreams children will be reaching for in the future.