Scientific advances have taken over almost every sector in the world, so much so that now humans have figured a way of growing vegetables in space as well. Nasa astronauts aboard the International Space Station have finally tasted the first chilli peppers that they have been growing the crop in space for the last four months. According to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) This plant experiment has been one of the most complexes to date.
Meghan McArthur, a NASA astronaut, posted the photos of the first space-grown green chilli on her social media “After the harvest, we got to taste red and green chile. Then we filled out surveys (got to have the date) Finally, I made my best space tacos yer: fajita beef, rehydrated tomatoes and artichokes, and HATCH CHILE,” McArthur posted.
NASA chose to grow peppers because of the several key nutrients they contain, also they are a good source of Vitamin C. “Peppers are self-pollinating, making the fruit easy to grow as it only requires agitating the plants. Plus, peppers add tasty variety to crew diets,” According to a statement given by NASA.
Earlier, NASA claimed that this experiment is aimed to explore various ways to sustain explorers for missions to destinations beyond low-Earth orbit including Mars, and missions that may last for months or even years and have low chances of getting re-supplied with essential resources.
In a statement NASA gave earlier, they said “Feeding crews on the Moon, and especially Mars, will be a logistical challenge. While crews will still rely on packaged foods from Earth, part of the challenge is that sending supplies beyond low-Earth orbit requires more propellant and longer delivery times, particularly to Mars. Packaged foods stored for long periods results in degradation of the food quality, which reduces the number of key nutrients like Vitamin C and Vitamin K.” Since 2015, astronauts have grown and eaten 10 different types of crops on the space stations.
The process of growing these crops was also quite unique: A team at NASA’s Kennedy Space Centre sanitised and planted 48 pepper seeds in a device called a science carrier that contains baked clay for roots to grow in and a controlled release fertiliser specially formulated for peppers.