Fresh food grown in the microgravity environment of space officially is on the menu for the first time for NASA astronauts on the worldwide Space Station.
Members of the worldwide Space Station crew are preparing to get their first taste of veggies grown in space, as the astronauts will be sampling red romaine lettuce leaves harvested from the plant growth system on board the orbiting laboratory today! The seeds arrived in space in self contained parcels and took around 33 days to develop and be harvested. But if they can eventually pair those organic space greens with fine spirits, astronauts’ palates are set to become way more sophisticated.
“Bon appetit!” said astronaut Scott Kelly before sticking a piece of the “Outredgeous” red romaine lettuce in his mouth on Monday. The hope is that greenhouses like Veggie will help crews grow their own food for longer missions, the statement said.
Now, astronauts have grown a variety of edible fruits and vegetables using the growing system known as Veggie. Last May, however, the first batch of pillows was activated and cared for by Expedition 39 engineer Steve Swanson. They will eat just half the vegetables and freeze the other half to be sent to Earth for additional experiments. The seeds had been on the space state for 15 months before being activated, NASA said. Gioia Massa is the NASA payload scientist for Veggie at Kennedy.
Not only does its greenhouse lighting technology take advantage of the efficiency of LEDs, which waste almost no energy on heat, but its variable light output allows it to be adapted to specific plant species at specific growth stages.
In 2010 and 2011, careful testing for this experiment in space was done at NASA’s desert site in the Habitat Demonstration Unit, Arizona.
It is due to the fact that the scientists found out that fresh foods, including red lettuces, are considered to be good sources of antioxidants. NASA says fresh food like the lettuce could provide not only health benefits for astronauts who now rely on packaged food, but also keep them happier as they travel through space.
Green LEDs have been added to make the plants look slightly more appetising for the astronauts.
The further humans move away from the Earth, the greater the need to be able to grow plants for food and for the recycling of the atmosphere as well as for psychological comfort, she said.