Earlier this month astronauts on board the International Space Station (ISS) tried space-grown lettuce, marking the first time NASA astronauts have been cleared to eat something they grew while in orbit.
“Astronauts have been growing crops in space for years for research, but this is the first time they have been allowed to eat their produce,”
The crop was eaten by Expedition 44 crew members Scott Kelly and Kjell Lindgren of NASA, along with Kimiya Yui of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA).
To make sure the lettuce was safe to eat, NASA astronaut Steve Swanson grew a batch while aboard the ISS last year. His harvest was returned to Earth where the red romaine lettuce leaves went through food safety analysis at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. After undergoing a number of tests, the lettuce was cleared as safe to eat.
Using the seeds from the same batch as Swanson’s harvest, NASA astronaut Scott Kelly grew his own lettuce 15 months later. After 33 days of growth, Kelly harvested his crop and tasted the bounty with fellow astronauts Kimiya Yui and Kjell Lindgren.
The group was given the go-ahead from Mission Control to consume half of the crop, while the other half was set aside to be frozen until it could be returned to Earth for more testing.
Check out the video below to see ISS astronauts eat space-grown lettuce…
The event marks the start of NASA’s “veggie project”, a project that hopes to soon produce large yields of a variety of crops for consumption in space. NASA scientists say fresh food will have many positive impacts on the astronauts’ health.
“NASA is developing Veggie as part of its efforts to provide future astronauts with a sustainable food supplement. As the space agency strives toward missions farther into the solar system, Veggie will be a resource for the crew’s food consumption. It could also be used by the astronauts for recreational gardening during the long-duration missions to an asteroid, the moon or Mars,”