HERE’S THE SCOOP:
- NASA astronauts harvested the first ever chile peppers on board the International Space Station.
- The Hatch chile pepper seeds arrive at the ISS in June.
- When the crew picked the peppers, one astronaut said she made her “best space tacos yet.”
NASA astronauts encountered a new life form when they harvested the first ever chile peppers aboard the International Space Station.
Finally, I made my best space tacos yet: fajita beef, rehydrated tomatoes & artichokes, and HATCH CHILE,” astronaut Megan McArthur tweeted.
In June, the Hatch chile pepper seeds arrived on a SpaceX resupply mission.
Astronauts planted the Hatch chile seeds in an Advanced Plant Habitat, a growth chamber outfitted with more than 180 sensors and LED lights controlled by a crew at the Kennedy Space Center.
Then, a team at Kennedy Space Center planted a control group of peppers in nearly identical conditions. A control group allows them to see if any factors in space affect the growth of the Hatch chiles.
“The combination of microgravity, light quality, temperature, and rootzone moisture will all affect flavor, so it will be interesting to find out how the fruit will grow, ripen, and taste,” said LaShelle Spencer, PH-04’s project science team lead.
Astronauts can now grow fresh produce millions of miles from Earth instead of relying solely on freeze-dried and prepackaged meals.
“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 for NASA’s Plant Habitat-04 experiment.
“We are limited to crops that don’t need storage, or extensive processing.”
Romeyn said that growing crops like peppers might be good for the crew’s mental and physical health.
Source: NY Post