Astronauts ate lettuce grown in space for the first time ever, but what did it taste like?
Residents of the International Space Station (ISS) were able to eat lettuce grown on board the station as part of a program NASA is implementing to make spacecrafts self-sufficient. The one liners are already coming.
“It was one small bite for man, one giant meal for mankind,” the Guardian wrote.
The historic moment where the astronauts on board the ISS ate lettuce grown in space for the first time begged one question: Does it taste any different than the kind grown on Earth?
According to astronaut Scott Kelly the space grown lettuce “tastes good, kinda like arugula,” which is coincidental, as that particular type of lettuce is known as rocket. Kelly was one of the astronauts who ate the lettuce as part of the experiment on Monday.
NASA is trying to put behind the days of ready-to-eat meals, which have been a staple of the space program for decades. The space agency posted the video to YouTube on Monday, showing Expedition 44 astronauts Scott Kelly, Kjell Lindgren, and Kimiya Yui eating the lettuce grown in space, saying, “That’s awesome.”
The astronauts ate lettuce called Outredgeous, a kind of romaine, using the Veggie growing system implemented on board the ISS. This is the first experiment of its kind in history.
According to Io9, the purpose of the experiment is to test both for capability and safety of growing crops in space. Lettuce is only the beginning when it comes to Veg-01, a unit that expands and collapses and uses red, blue, and green LEDs to grow plants.
The seeds come in “pillows,” which Kelly activated on July 8, and grew for 33 days before harvest. In May, the first batch of pillows was activated and grown by Expedition 39 engineer Steve Swanson.
Similarly as the one the astronauts ate, that lettuce also grew for 33 days and was harvested, however, this batch was returned to Earth for study. This time around, half the lettuce is set aside to be consumed by ISS members, while the rest is sent back home for additional study.
NASA’s plan of growing food in space is exciting. The plan is for longer missions to be self-sufficient and to provide food for pioneers who will eventually head to Mars to begin colonies. Researchers are also interested in studying alcohol, and last week, it was announced the most famous whiskey on Earth is also being launched to the ISS.
[Image via NASA]