Space-grown lettuce to give astronauts a more varied diet

Experiencing weightlessness, staring at lower back on the Earth as a light blue dot and the adrenaline rush of being propelled into orbit at 20,000mph: lifestyles as an astronaut has diverse unique points of interest.

However, the menu is now set to be improved, with the first space-grown lettuce having been discovered to be as safe, nutritious and palatable as the Earth-grown range.

Gioia Massa of Nasa Kennedy Space Center, the lead scientist on the lettuce-growing task, said that growing meals in area might be critical for astronauts on long-length missions together with Artemis III, scheduled to land people at the lunar south pole by using 2024, and Nasa’s first crewed undertaking to Mars, planned for the overdue 2020s.

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“If you shop packaged food for an extended period the great, flavour and dietary excellent lower, the vitamins degrade,” she stated. “We can’t guarantee that they’re going to get sufficient vitamins right now.”

“There’s some weight loss in among the astronauts,” said Massa.

A crop of ‘Outredgeous’ purple romaine lettuce grown within the Veggie planting machine on the International Space Station. Photograph: NASA
Lettuce was grown in batches onboard the ISS among 2014-sixteen.

The lettuce vegetation grew undisturbed for 33 to fifty six days before being harvested and eaten, or deep-frozen and lower back to Earth for chemical and organic analysis.

The space-grown lettuce changed into similar in composition to Earth-grown controls, and some plant life had been even richer in factors which includes potassium, sodium, phosphorus, sulphur and zinc. They had higher degrees of bacteria, possibly due to their developing in a warmer, more humid and closed-air device, but were not determined to carry any risky bacteria along with coliform E coli or salmonella. The findings of the project are published inside the magazine Frontiers in Plant Science.

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Nasa astronauts chunk into the primary veggies grown in space
Nasa is now increasing the variety of produce grown onboard the ISS, with plans for pak choi, dragoon lettuce, wasabi mustard and crimson Russian kale to be grown later this yr, as well as tomatoes and peppers. It might be longer before those can be converted right into a stir fry, however. “We have nowhere to cook up there so we’re searching at things that taste excellent fresh,” said Massa.

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