Astronauts on International Space Station about to harvest first-ever space-grown food, as Nasa develops "Veggie" plant growth chamber

 
Clara Guibourg
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Space food (Source: Nasa)

Nasa astronauts have been growing lettuce in space, as the first-ever space-grown fruit and veg is about to be harvested on the International Space Station.

Forget freeze-dried meals, astronauts are about to get a better deal. Nasa has developed a plant growth chamber dubbed “Veggie” and sent it into orbit. Produce from the mini-greenhouse is set to be harvested tomorrow, meaning astronauts will be sampling fresh food grown in space for the very first time.

What the historic harvest consists of? “Outredgeous” red romain lettuce.

The lettuce has been grown in “Veggie” using rooting “pillows” containing seeds, that the astronauts were put in charge of activating, watering and tending to.

The plan isn’t just to give astronauts a better dinner, though.

Astronauts will be allowed to eat half of the space harvest. The rest is to be packaged, frozen and returned to Earth for analysis.

By observing how plants grow in orbit, Nasa hopes to improve food production on earth. The technology is also essential for future long-duration space exploration, such as Journey to Mars, where sustainable food will be a critical resource.

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