Space salad


Growing vegetables in microgravity is no mean feat.


Astronauts aboard the International Space Station use red light to grow greens, as red wavelengths are absorbed most efficiently for photosynthesis.
Astronauts aboard the International Space Station use red light to grow their greens, as red wavelengths are absorbed most efficiently for photosynthesis.
NASA

The crew aboard the International Space Station have grown two batches of mixed greens: mizuna, red cos (or romaine) lettuce and tokyo bekana cabbage, and they are now running two veggie facilities simultaneously.

Organisms grow differently in space, from single-celled bacteria to plants and humans. But future long-duration space missions will require crew members to grow their own food, so understanding how plants respond to microgravity is an important step toward that goal. The Veg-03 experiment uses the veggie plant growth facility to cultivate a type of cabbage, lettuce and mizuna which are harvested on-orbit with samples returned to Earth for testing.

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