International Space Station

Española chili pepper to be the first fruiting plant grown in space

In November, astro-scientists are hoping to send up Española chili pepper plants (Capsicum annuum), to the International Space Station (ISS), making peppers the very first fruit to be grown in space by American astronauts.

No US astronaut has so far grown a fruiting plant in space, which means that later this year, the Española chili pepper could be the first.

Plants have quite a bit of trouble growing in microgravity, as their root systems are complex and typically use Earth's gravity to orientate themselves. The astronauts have successfully coaxed plants into growing aboard the ISS by using special types of light & supplementing other techniques for helping the plants figure out which way is "up" and "down".

Back in 2018, a new, nearly self-sufficient growth system known as The Advanced Plant Habitat was sent up to the ISS, joining The Vegetable Production System (Veggie) to help the crew grow fresh food. This is all-important for NASA's ambitious plan to eventually send humans to Mars. We're looking at somewhere between six months and a year to make it to Mars, and once the space pioneers are on their way, we can't easily get them more fresh food from Earth.

Source: krishijagran.com


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