Researchers are taking a first snapshot of what growing in microgravity might look like
NASA astronauts have grown and eaten peppers for the first time in space after a mission to the International Space Station.
Four astronauts – Scott Kelly, Kjell Lindgren, Shane Kimbrough and Tim Kopra – are taking part in the 13-month mission, a year long stint that will continue through March. On Sunday they had a hatchery outside the station used to treat seedlings for growth in space. They also planted 65 varieties of seedlings from which they chose to eat eight: sun-warmed cilantro, bitter cumin, yellow and red pepper varieties, a tomato and three types of spinach, according to Nasa.
Astronauts take part in climate study on International Space Station Read more
The space agency has been studying the long-term effects of spaceflight on human physiology and microbes for years. On this trip, scientists will examine sample soil, leaves and seedlings through microgravity to learn more about how plants grow.
Astronauts are generally unable to maintain stem and leaves while in space. Instead, they gather their food in small packages and eat it without a knife or chopsticks. This was done to preserve nutrient levels and limit food waste. Although astronauts can’t eat directly from the plants in space, they can closely examine plant leaves and sample flower buds to study the germination and development of the plants.
NASA’s cameras on the station also captured Kelly as he harvested seeds and took photo samples. “Today was awesome,” he said.