Astronauts have tacos made with peppers grown in space — looking to grow tomatoes in the future

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Astronauts have tacos made with peppers grown in space — looking to grow tomatoes in the future
NASA
  • Astronauts harvest pepper plants at the International Space Station.
  • They made space tacos using the first peppers cultivated in space.
  • The peppers took four months to grow and will be sent to earth for further research.
In a new space research breakthrough, NASA scientists onboard the International Space Station (ISS) had space tacos that were made using peppers grown in space. According to the ISS research team, the cultivation of peppers was part of the Plant Habitat-04 experiment by NASA, and this is the first time any plant was grown in the ISS or anywhere in space.

Astronauts and the research team at ISS tweeted about the new development and shared how the tacos tasted. As per the tweet, NASA Astronaut Mark T. Vande Hei got the honour of harvesting the station’s first crop of chile peppers as a part of the Plant Habitat-04 study and called it one of the most challenging station plant experiments to date.



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Adding spice in space


The peppers took four months to grow, and they were harvested only last week. The peppers were supposed to be sent back to the earth for more analysis with SpaceX’s Crew-3 astronauts who were supposed to take a flight to the ISS on October 30. However, the mission was delayed by a 'medical issue' and it will now launch on November 6 or later.

According to this NASA report, the pepper that was grown at the space station was selected after testing varieties of peppers for two years. It is a hybrid Hatch pepper, a term that is used for all peppers grown in Hatch, New Mexico, and the Hatch Valley in southern New Mexico.

”The challenge is the ability to feed crews in low-Earth orbit, and then to sustain explorers during future missions beyond low-Earth orbit to destinations including the Moon, as part of the Artemis program, and eventually to Mars,” said Matt Romeyn, principal investigator of the experiment.
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Growing plants in space


Apart from growing peppers in space, NASA scientists have used the Vegetable Production System, known as Veggie, to grow three types of lettuce, Chinese cabbage, mizuna mustard, red Russian kale and zinnia flowers in space. The team at the Kennedy Space Center is also looking to grow tomatoes in the future.

The Veggie garden is small and can typically hold six plants. Its primary purpose is to help NASA study plant growth in microgravity and add fresh food to the diet of the Astronauts in space.

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