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Monday, May 23, 2022
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    NASA astronauts taste the first chili peppers grown in space: “best tacos ever!”

    Astronauts love to experiment with daily tasks in space whether it may be washing, their hair or it may be preparing meals for themselves in a zero-gravity environment, indeed they experiment with the daily tasks every day in space. Astronauts love to experiment at a higher level and also at the basic level by experimenting with their daily tasks. Now in the very complex experiment as NASA curated and grew a unique chili pepper plant for 4 months and this has become a breakthrough in sustaining life in space.  

    The International Space Station aboard NASA astronauts has finally tasted the first chili peppers that they have been trying to grow in space for the last four months. According to some reports, it is known that the National Aeronautics and Space Administration said earlier that this experiment was one of the most complexes to date. 

    The photos of the first space-grown green chili pepper were posted on the social media account of NASA astronaut Meghan Arthur. Along with the photos it also had a caption that reads, “after the harvest we got to taste the Red and green chili. Then we filled out the surveys (got to have the data!). Finally, I made my best space tacos yet: fajita beef, rehydrated tomatoes, and artichokes and hatch chile!” 

    On the other hand, the International Space Station also uploaded on their official Twitter handle a photo of the chili attached to the plant, and they captioned it, “happy pepper picking day aboard the @Space_Station! Today @Astro_Sabot gets the honor of harvesting the station’s first crop of chile peppers as a part of the plant habitat– 04 study, one of the most challenging station plant experiments to date.”

    NASA earlier informed that the experiment was made to explore the ways to sustain explorers for missions to destinations beyond low Earth orbit including Mars, also for the missions that will last for months or even years and have limited opportunities for resupply missions. 

    “Feeding crews on the moon and especially Mars will be a logistical challenge. While crews will still rely on packaged foods from the earth, part of the challenge is that sending supplies behind low Earth orbit requires more propellant and longer delivery times, particularly to Mars. Packaged food stored for a long period results in degradation of the food quality which reduces the number of key nutrients like vitamin C and vitamin K.” NASA also informed that since 2015, astronauts have grown and also eaten 10 different crops on the space stations.

    Wondering why pepper was chosen? Let us inform you that as papers contain several key nutrients and they are also good sources of vitamin C, they were chosen for growing. NASA said, “peppers are self-pollinating, thus, making the fruit easy to grow as it only requires agitating the plants. Plus, Peppers add tasty variety to crew diets.”

    Talking about the process of growing the peppers, NASA said that a team at NASA’s Kennedy Space center at first sanitized and planted 48 pepper seeds in a device called a science career which contains big clay of roots to grow in and a controlled release of fertilizers which is specially formulated for peppers. 

    NASA always manages to come up with unique experiments and from these experiments, some of them also succeed, which they never forget to share with everyone. This is indeed a great achievement by NASA and this experiment will surely help them for their further missions.

    Sneha Sivakumar
    Sneha Sivakumar
    I am a student and will be stepping into my college life soon! Apart from writing, I love coding and reading books. I like to learn new things and upgrade myself!

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