Chili pepper seeds hatch Space station On a SpaceX refueling mission in June and immediately deployed by NASA astronaut Shane Kimbrough.
Astronaut Megan MacArthur wrote in a tweet, “Finally, I made the BEST Tacos: Beef Fajitas, Sun-Dried Tomatoes, Artichokes, and HATCH CHILE.”
Astronauts have access to a variety of regularly replenished frozen meals and fast food, but learning how to grow fresh produce millions of miles from Earth will be key to longer missions.
“The challenge is to be able to feed crews in LEO and then support explorers during future missions outside LEO to destinations that include the Moon, as part of the Artemis program, and eventually Mars,” roman died, explained the principal investigator for the NASA Plant Habitat-04 experiment.
“We are restricted to crops that do not need extensive storage or processing.”
Growing peppers could be beneficial not only for the physical health of astronauts, but also for their mental health, according to Rommen.
NASA astronauts have planted Chili Hatch seeds in an advanced plant habitat, a growth room equipped with more than 180 crew-controlled sensors and LED lights at the Kennedy Space Center.
A similar room, known as the Vegetable Production System, has been producing crops for about six years, including lettuce, cabbage, turnip and zinnia flowers.
A team from the Kennedy Space Center planted a control group of peppers under nearly identical conditions on Earth to see if microgravity and other factors in space affected the growth of chopped peppers.
“The spice of pepper is determined by the growing environmental conditions,” explained Lachelle Spencer, lead science team for the PH-04 project. “The combination of microgravity, light quality, temperature and humidity in the root zone will affect the flavor, so it will be interesting to see how the fruit will grow, ripen and taste.”
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