Astronauts aboard the International Space Station (ISS) harvested a second batch of chili peppers grown on the station, ending one of the most complex plant-growing experiments in space to date.
Although some edible plants have been grown on the ISS before, such as leafy greens and radishes, the experience with chili peppers was more difficult than previous experiences because chili peppers are flowering crops and have grown for a total of by 137 days, compared to one or two months, most of the previous plants had been grown.
The peppers were grown in the ISS’s Advanced Planet Habitat in an experiment called Plant Habitat-04. “PH-04 has considerably pushed the state of the art in the production of space cultures” noted Matt Romeyn, PH-04 principal investigator at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. “With this experiment, we took a field cultivar of a Hatch pepper from New Mexico, eclipsed it to suit the plant’s habitat, and found out how to productively grow the first crop. fruit farm generally recognized in space – all in the space of a few years. “
The first batch of peppers was harvested on October 29 and turned into tasty tacos for the crew. One of the great benefits of growing chili peppers is that their spicy flavor attracts astronauts, who often ask for condiments like hot sauce to make their food more interesting.
“The level of excitement around the first harvest and the space tacos was unprecedented for us,” said Romeyn. “All indications are that some of the fruits were spicier, which is not unexpected, given the unknown effect microgravity may have on capsaicin levels in peppers.”
In addition to the physical health benefits of fresh vegetables, tending to crops, then harvesting and eating them can also be psychologically beneficial for astronauts.
“The biggest benefit that I have seen personally is the impact of growing plants on the team,” said Nicole Dufour, project manager of PH-04. “They are so engaged when they interact with plants, especially when it comes to a cultivated plant like peppers. We found out that the crew removed the blind on the door daily to check the plants and look at the peppers. It’s not something we asked them to do – they wanted it just because they liked it so much.
- Here’s how NASA manages to grow chili peppers in space
- 5 best air fryer recipes for restaurant-quality food
- 9 easiest vegetables to grow for beginners
- SpaceX successfully brings four-person crew back from the International Space Station
- SpaceX successfully launches four astronauts on Crew-3 mission to space station