Life at the Space Station is about to get spicier as NASA announced its plans to grow the first fruiting plant in space before the end of this year entitled Espanola pepper, otherwise known by its Latin name capsicum annuum.
The Espanola pepper is relatively easy to grow as it grows at high altitudes and doesn’t need much time to grow the chilis themselves.
NASA plant physiologist Ray Wheeler told that “We were also looking for varieties that don’t grow too tall, and yet are very productive in the controlled environments that we would be using in space.”
The idea to grow chills is to provide space travelers with nutrition and variety on much longer trips to far away destinations including Mars.
“We need to grow enough to supplement diet,” Jacob Torres, scientist at NASA stated that . “Just like here on Earth, we can’t live on the same thing.”
While astronauts have plenty of food available to them brought from back home at space station squeezed inside dehydrated packets, freshly grown foods like chili peppers could provide a priceless and very much necessary source of nutrients and vitamins.
Despite the microgravity in space, astronauts were successful in growing certain types of plants on the space station with the use of modern techniques, special types of lights, and temperature.