NASA Astronaut Grows Chile Peppers In Space; Future In Space Possible Now?


NASA might have just achieved another milestone in exploring space. The premier space agency is gearing up for the Artemis mission, which aims to send the first woman and the next man to the Moon. As exciting as the mission sounds, NASA has achieved another important landmark. NASA astronaut Megan McArthur has grown the first Chile peppers in space.

NASA Astronaut Grows Chile Peppers In Space, Makes Tacos

NASA Astronaut Grows Chile Peppers

The first space-grown Chile peppers were cultivated and consumed at the International Space Station. McArthur has grown the first space Chile peppers and consumed it with a taco. She is part of the seven-crew members currently living at the International Space Station. She created a space taco using the newly harvested peppers with fajita beef and rehydrated tomatoes.

Interestingly, the harvest has continued further than earlier thought. The peppers have produced flowers used to germinate another crop, NASA explained. The astronauts onboard hand-pollinated some of the flowers to assist the future harvest, expected to be done later this month.

Particularly, the peppers were harvested a few days back, on October 29. Here, the pepper crop came from the Planet Habitat-04 study on the International Space Station that was used as part of the taco feast. The experiment aims to grow different plants in orbit, which would help future astronauts on their missions.

What's more, astronauts on board will get to taste the red and green peppers to answer a survey. This would further help future science work as NASA aims for longer space stays and deep-space missions. The 48 Hatch peppers, as they're being called, are part of NASA's experiment to test more food for these ambitious missions.

"Studies of fruit development in microgravity are limited, and NASA researchers have noted lower fruit development versus ground observations in this experiment for reasons that are not fully understood at this point," the agency said.


Harvest In Space: Is Future Possible?

To note, this isn't the first crop that was harvested in orbit. Previously, astronauts and scientists have grown Mizuna mustard, radishes, zinnias red lettuce, and two other lettuce types in space. And now, we have Hatch Chile peppers joining the list. NASA stated these peppers have been growing since July 13 and were harvested on October 29, completing a full cycle of space growth.

Growing food in space is one of the biggest milestones that NASA has been working on. With food under cover, NASA can reduce the weight of the supplies it needs to send with astronauts. That said, the Hatch Chile peppers were grown in controlled conditions, which might be quite difficult when in deep space missions.

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