Astronauts Eat Food They Grew in Space

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August 11, 2015

Call it farming in space.

Astronauts aboard the International Space Station chowed down on some real food, recently, and it was food that they planted and grew themselves, aboard the station.

Scott Kelly planted a bit of red romaine lettuce on July 8, according to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), and the astronauts looked after the seeds, watering them consistently and harvesting them 33 days after planting.

Then, Kelly, Kjell Lindgren, and Kimiya Yui ate the lettuce.

The planting took place in a greenhouse that has been aboard the station since 2002. The greenhouse, named Lada, has been used to study plant growth in microgravity. But the lettuce project was the first time that the scientists had eaten their project.

The planting involved using not normal soil but a growth system called Veggie. In essence, the seeds are placed in ready-made environments and then helped along in the growth phase by doses of red and blue LED light.

Astronauts did a test of the system in 2014 and brought the results back to Earth for testing. After that test was deemed successful, NASA gave the go-ahead for the live test this year.

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