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The First Fruit Grown in Space Will Be…the Chili Pepper?
The orange. The banana. The apple. What’s the first fruit grown in space going to be? Well, it’s more exotic than your average five a day. It’s the chili pepper. Looking back 50 years, when food was to be stored and sent alongside astronauts for the duration of their trip, now we’re planning to grow fruit and vegetables while we’re up there in space. That’s pretty neat.
Astronauts on the International Space Station have already managed to grow and eat lettuce in space, so now it’s time to heat things up a little.
“NASA is now laying the groundwork for a new research effort that could see the humble Española chili pepper become the first fruiting plant to be grown and harvested in space, CNET reported this week.
On Earth, this particular type of chili has a relatively short growth period and is fairly low-maintenance — characteristics that will hopefully serve it well in space, too. Importantly, it’s packed with vitamins and minerals, and is also an excellent source of antioxidants. Oh, and it’s not too hot, either. If preparations run according to plan, the Española chili seeds will be sent to the ISS toward the end of this year or early next.
NASA is planning to grow a greater variety of crops in space to help keep astronauts fed — and healthy — on longer missions. Foods already grown in space include not only lettuce but also cabbages, radishes, and peas, among others.” (Digital Trends)
How are they grown, you ask? In an expandable unit, with a light bank covered in red, green, and blue (RGB) LED lights that helps generate plant growth. It’s a weird concept, growing veg in space, but it’s important if we want to continue exploring further afield in our solar system and beyond.
I’m just waiting for the super microwave from the film, The Fifth Element, to appear. Pop a pill into a microwave, and have a whole cooked meal appear? Yes please. Honestly, it wouldn’t even be for space use – I just want the convenience of that machine!
What about you? Share your thoughts in the comments below.