NASA: First fruit grown in space to spice-up astronauts' menu

Researchers at NASA are planning on sending a version of chile peppers in space to be grown and harvested at the International Space Station. The peppers, from Española in New Mexico, would be the first fruiting plant to be grown in space once it is sent to the ISS for testing in March 2020. The tests are a part of NASA's major plan to produce food outside Earth's atmosphere.

NASA researcher Jacob Torres, has stated that the point of the mission is to see if NASA's Advanced Plant Habitat-a bioscience research facility at ISS that recreates a plant's environmental needs (CO2, humidity, etc.) can grow fruiting crops. NASA has already successfully grown leafy crops at ISS.

Why a pepper?
The obvious question is, if you're sending a fruiting plant, why not send something more appetizing than a pepper? The answer is that not every crop can successfully grow in space and the Española Chile Pepper could just help pave the way for interstellar farming. The plant has already met NASA's needs for easily pollination and the ability to survive in high CO2 environments.


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