Astronauts eat first vegetables grown in space [2015/08/26 11:43]

Astronauts have succeeded in growing *lettuce in space for the first time, and *dined on them aboard a space station on Aug. 10, foreign news media reported.

They have been growing lettuce in a special box under LED lights aboard the International Space Station as part of a NASA experiment since May 2014.

Astronaut Scott Kelly and two other American astronauts *made a toast with the space lettuce. They said the lettuce tasted “*kind of like *arugula” and “fresh.” Other space food is freeze-dried and packaged. The three astronauts harvested space-grown red *romaine lettuce, cleaned them with *sanitizing *wipes, tried them raw, and then *sprinkled them with olive oil and Italian balsamic vinegar.

The experiment, nicknamed Veggie by NASA, is meant to study plant growth in a *micro-gravity environment and to improve the methods that could grow *produce in orbit.

If space *explorers can grow their own food while they are away from Earth, they are more likely to survive the *rigors of space journeys *lasting months or even years.

“On the way to Mars and on the way back, you’re not going to be able to get *resupplies,” said Kelly. “We’re going to need to be completely *self-sufficient. Having the ability to grow our own food is a big step in that direction.”

NASA said the plants grown in space were not *nutritionally different from their Earth-rooted *counterparts. The size and shape of the space lettuce are *about the same as those of ordinary Earth lettuce.
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