I’m no astronaut or NASA engineer, but I’m confident that it’s a space/efficiency issue. Plants do produce oxygen, sure, but it would take quite a few plants to produce enough oxygen for the crew of a space ship, and space ships are already very cramped environments. It’s probably just impractical to try to cram enough plants in there, and to care for the plants, so as to provide oxygen for the crew. It seems to me that if we were ever to try plant-based, long-term oxygen-production, it would need to be with absolutely massive ships that could house a lot of people and miniature forests.
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