Green thumbs? Astronauts successfully growing crops in space

Green thumbs?  Astronauts successfully growing crops in space

The International Space Station reports it has grown its first crop of vegetables on the station.

But are they organic? Astronauts on the International Space Station, or ISS, have successfully grown a crop of veggies while orbiting out in space.

As the Financial Express reports, ISS has been working on growing its own veggies for years. NASA’s plant experiment, nicknamed Veg-O1, planted and harvested its first crop in 2014 through astronauts on Expedition 39. After intense safety analysis by the on-earth crew at Kennedy Space Center, the food was deemed safe to farm.

Astronaut Scott Kelly reportedly planted seeds in the growing medium, the plant “pillows,” on July 8th. The “Outredegous” red romaine lettuce was ready for harvest on August 10. The astronauts will consume half of it, and send the remaining half back to earth for further analysis.

China’s English News reports the astronauts chosen for the dining experience were Kelly, Kjell Lindgren, and Kimiya Yui. Kelly, at least, enjoyed the experience, saying, “It tastes good. It tastes kind of like arugula.”

NASA and other space organizations have been working for over a decade to figure out how to farm in space. The ability to grow crops on long voyages will be essential to stocking the prolonged deep space explorations NASA hopes are on the horizon.

The technology may also become useful down on Earth, where sustainability and availability are becoming a priority.

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