Fifth Crop Harvested Aboard The International Space Station

Posted: Feb 20 2017, 10:01am CST | by , in News | Latest Science News

Fifth Crop Harvested Aboard the International Space Station
Tokyo Bekana Chinese cabbage leaves are shown prior to Friday’s harvest aboard the International Space Station. Photo Credit: NASA

NASA astronauts will now eat Chinese cabbage

Astronaut Peggy Whitson harvested cabbage on Feb 17 on ISS international space station. The cabbage is a result of one of six seeds of Tokyo Bekana Chinese cabbage planted in space. Peggy worked as a gardener for this tiny crop, and was very passionate about her work,said Veggie Project Manager Nicole Dufour.

The ISS crew will now eat cabbage, saving some for the scientific study at Kennedy Space Center. This is the fifth time that any crop is grown aboard the station. The team selected cabbage after going through several other leafy vegetables. Cabbage was selected for ISS crop because scientists think it’s nutritious and grows fast.

Astronauts say that to change their taste on ISS they use sauces like soy sauce and also honey. Due to gravity their sense of smell is affected and it also dulls their tastes. Though, fresh Chinese cabbage won’t make their taste better, but they will have something different to eat.

Two more harvests are expected this spring and will provide astronauts a bigger garden for veggies and they will also do more experiments.

A tweet by Whitson says that her love of gardening on earth would also become a fun in space and more room is required for the plants. Another mission in future will involve experiments with Arabidopsis that’s a small plant with flowers. The plant will help in genetics studies that would be done by Dr. Anna Lisa Paul from the University of Florida.

The experiments will help scientists discover the physiology of plants like how they grow in space other than earth. The new discoveries will also help researchers investigate more plants in space after their harvest. At the end of 2017, NASA will also send its largest plant chamber to ISS. The chamber will help in more discoveries based on foods that would be produced for longer durations off the earth.

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