Astronauts will eat lettuce for the first time in space

Astronauts will eat lettuce for the first time in space

This Monday NASA astronauts on the International Space Station have a special option on the menu: lettuce. But this is not just any lettuce. It is part of a cultivar of red romaine lettuce, known as "Outredgeous", produced on the space station.

"For the first time, fresh food grown in the microgravity environment of space will officially be on the menu," NASA said in a statement.

It was not reported whether crew members have been "unofficially" stealing some space-grown sandwiches.

Yes, astronauts receive a large quantity of prepared food that is shipped to them via supply ships. But NASA has to find a way to grow food on spacecraft - and other planets - for future deep-space missions like the one it has planned for Mars.

The space agency is scheduled to send humans to an asteroid in 2025 and to Mars in the 2030s.

Plus, gardening on Earth is fun, and NASA said astronauts will possibly use it as a recreational activity on extended missions.

The lettuce was grown in the space station's Veggie plant growing system. The system was tested at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida and the plants were inspected for health. Still, half of the crew's harvest will be sent to Earth for further testing. To make it even safer, astronauts will clean the lettuce with citric acid-based food-safe disinfectant wipes before eating it.

The crew seems to be excited about the lettuce. Astronauts Scott Kelly and Kjell Lindgren shared images of their harvest via Twitter:

"Tomorrow we will eat the anticipated harvest of vegetables in @ space_station! But first, the lettuce will have a #selfie. #A year in space."

The favorite load on the @ space_station is the Veggie system! It's fun to watch these grow. Almost sad to have to eat them tomorrow. Almost.

Kelly and Lindgren are the only two NASA astronauts on the space station right now. The other members of the crew are Russians Gennady Padalka, Mikhail Kornienko, Oleg Kononenko, and Japanese astronaut Kimiya Yui.

NASA did not report whether the other crew members will taste the lettuce, but Padalka and Kornienko will be busy with a spacewalk. They are installing devices in the station's hull to help crew members better navigate on future spacewalks. They are also washing the windows - cleaning debris from the windows of the Zvezda service module - and working on the station's communications antennas.

Maybe Kelly and Lindgren will save you enough lettuce for at least one side of salad.


Video: Monumental moment NASA astronauts eat fresh lettuce - Daily Mail (September 2021).