NASA is set to grow produce 230 miles above Earth's soil

Later this year, NASA's Vegetable Production System (VEGGIE) program will send astronauts in the International Space Station station kits to grow six romaine lettuce plants. After 28 days growing under pink LED lights, the plants will be ready to harvest.

The experiment comes after astronaut Don Pettit successfully grew a zucchini while staying on the space station. But astronauts won't be allowed to eat the crops just yet. The first harvest will be sent back to Earth for testing. The vegetables will be inspected for bacteria and cleanliness.

After the first crop of lettuce, vegetables such as radishes and snap peas could be the next to grow is space. As the program advances, NASA will need to address how to grow and manage more complicated crops. Potatoes are easy to grow and store, but aren't appetizing raw; wheat would require extra equipment and preparation before it could be consumed.

Growing food in space could be a more cost-effective way to feed orbiting astronauts. It costs about $10,000 to send one pound of food from Earth to the space station.

The mission may also provide a form of therapy for astronauts. NASA is advancing research that tending to a garden will help astronauts cope with the isolation of space and give them a small remembrance of home.

Source: Mashable

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