Why Did NASA Use LED Lights?

Why Did NASA Use LED Lights?


NASA has some of the best scientists and engineers in the world.

In the following section, we explore how a NASA grant research company realized that red light therapy provided healing properties and how it became popularized as a medical treatment. 


NASA’s Use of Red Light Therapy for Plant Growth

In 1993, Quantum Devices, INC. received a grant from NASA to study the use of red light therapy to stimulate plant growth. NASA was interested in finding ways to feed astronauts in orbit healthier food. Without this, they would be limited to pre-packaged food that would have to be sent up to orbit. 

In NASA’s words, the study “demonstrated that red LED wavelengths could boost the energy metabolism of cells to advance plant growth and photosynthesis.” They credit Dr. Ray Bula with having the insight to try the experiment despite initial skepticism the idea had any merit. Ronald W. Ignatius also deserves credit as CEO of Quantum Devices, INC. at the time and for continuing to support product research that ended up being used for working red light therapy panels by NASA and the military. 

During the study, researchers observed that while working in the garden under exposure to red light, their hands healed faster. They quickly realized that red light therapy could not only be used to make plants grow faster but also to heal astronauts

Subsequent studies soon followed, revealing that red light therapy did, in fact, have healing properties. The Marshall Space Flight Center provided further grants for the development of red light therapy panels that could be used to stimulate plant growth. Meanwhile, they also honed in on red and near-infrared light wavelengths that they speculated could stimulate cell growth in humans. 

As NASA says, “In 1989, Ignatius formed QDI to bring the salt grain-sized LEDs to market, and in October 1995, the light sources made their Space Shuttle flight debut on the second U.S. Microgravity Laboratory Spacelab mission (STS-73, Columbia).”

We provide more information in a literature review that covers more of the details discovered about red light therapy during this research project

In a project called WARP 10, QDI continued to win contracts with NASA to develop red light panels for the Department of Defense to speed up the recovery of injured soldiers. These panels have also been utilized on submarines to speed up the healing of injured sailors. 


Red Light Therapy for Consumer Use

Soon, there was a clear benefit to using panels in the broader consumer market.

PlatinumLED was the first company to launch consumer RLT panels, and these remain the best in class.

The BIOMAX Series RLT panels are all equipped with the following wavelengths: 

  • 480nm traces of blue light
  • 530nm and 560nm NIR light
  • 810nm, 830nm, 850nm, and 1060nm NIR+ light

The numerous benefits of this FDA-approved treatment include the following: 

  • Faster healing
  • Faster recovery from exercise and injury
  • Healthier looking skin 
  • Reduced inflammation
  • And many other benefits

Check out the BIOMAX Series red light therapy panels for more information.



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