Astronauts cultivated green chile on the space station and made space tacos: NPR

NASA astronaut Shane Kimbrough controls Hatch chile plants growing on the International Space Station earlier this year.

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NASA astronaut Shane Kimbrough controls Hatch chile plants growing on the International Space Station earlier this year.

NASA

The outer space has just become a little more delicious.

Astronauts aboard the International Space Station had the pleasure of eating at rumtacos last weekend: tacos topped with green chile that was actually grown in space. As part of NASA’s Plant Habitat-04 study, scientists began cultivating hatch chile – a type of pepper found in New Mexico’s Hatch Valley – aboard the ISS in July in an attempt to understand more about “plant-microbe interactions” in space. , said NASA.

Astronauts have grown other crops, such as salad and radishes, in space before. But peppers are harder to grow in space because they take a relatively long time to germinate and bear fruit, according to the NASA release.

This is the first time NASA has grown peppers in space, and astronauts finally got to taste the fruits of their labor on Friday before collecting data on the red and green peppers that were harvested. Astronaut Megan McArthur shared photos of what she called her “best space tacos to date,” which were made using fajita beef, rehydrated tomatoes and artichokes, and the hatching chili grown on the ISS.

“Friday party!” she wrote on Twitter.

The Chilean pepper experiment is part of an effort to expand the number of crops astronauts can grow in space during future missions, NASA explained in a July release.

“The challenge is the ability to feed low-Earth orbiting crews and then sustain explorers during future missions beyond low-Earth orbits to destinations, including the Moon, as part of the Artemis program and ultimately to Mars,” Matt said. Romeyn, chief investigator for NASA’s Plant Habitat-04 experiment. “We are limited to crops that do not need storage or extensive processing.”

It looks like astronauts may be able to eat fresh green chile on future missions. Call it a giant bite for humanity.

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