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posted by martyb on Wednesday July 21, @03:03AM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]
from the A-hua! dept.

Astronauts on International Space Station are growing chile peppers in a first for NASA:

The astronauts are growing red and green chile peppers in space for what will be "one of the longest and most challenging plant experiments attempted aboard the orbital lab," NASA said.

Hatch chile pepper seeds arrived at the station in June aboard a SpaceX commercial resupply services mission.

NASA astronaut Shane Kimbrough, a flight engineer who helped grow "Outredgeous" red romaine lettuce in space in 2016, initiated the experiment by inserting 48 seeds into the Advanced Plant Habitat (APH) on July 12.

A team with Kennedy Space Center's Exploration Research and Technology programs planted those seeds in a device called a science carrier, which slots into the APH, one of the three plant growth chambers on the orbiting laboratory where the astronauts raise crops.

[...] Researchers spent two years evaluating more than two dozen pepper varieties and eventually landed on the NuMex "Española Improved" pepper, a hybrid Hatch pepper from New Mexico.

While astronauts have previously harvested veggies such as lettuce and radishes, this experiment could give astronauts something to satisfy their menu fatigue.

Romeyn said crew members may prefer spicy or seasoned foods because they can temporarily lose their sense of taste or smell after living in microgravity.

The peppers should be ready for harvest in about three and a half months. After eating some of them, the crew plans to send the rest to Earth for analysis.

Also at USA Today.

[Ed note] Apparently there are several variations on the spelling of chilli:

The chili pepper (also chile, chile pepper, chilli pepper, or chilli), from Nahuatl chīlli [...], is the berry-fruit of plants from the genus Capsicum which are members of the nightshade family, Solanaceae.


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  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 21, @03:07AM (5 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 21, @03:07AM (#1158597)

    Fire on the ISS burned the tongues of several astronauts.

    • (Score: 3, Touché) by c0lo on Wednesday July 21, @03:40AM (4 children)

      by c0lo (156) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday July 21, @03:40AM (#1158614) Journal

      Don't forget the "ring of fire" consequences. If the zero-g conditions don't affect the typical guts reaction on Earth, they may end experimenting with a messy form of personal reactive propulsion.

      --
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aoFiw2jMy-0
      • (Score: 2) by Freeman on Wednesday July 21, @04:01PM (3 children)

        by Freeman (732) on Wednesday July 21, @04:01PM (#1158761) Journal

        Unless eaten in concentration or large amounts, normal "hot peppers" aren't going to do that to you. Definition of "Normal" anything about as hot as a standard Jalapeno pepper.

        https://www.scovillescale.org/chili-pepper-scoville-scale/ [scovillescale.org]

        Anything in the Habanero scale is equivalent to "it hurts so bad, I want to die". You should be using small amounts to flavor an entire pot of chili.

        Anything in the Bhut Jolokia scale is equivalent to "I am dying", please call 911. You shouldn't be using this.

        Anything in the Carolina Reaper scale is equivalent to "I am become death", emergency services are probably too late to save you and they can't do much about it anyway. Never use this. That being said, I mean, it's probably not terribly likely you'll die, you'll just wish you had.

        --
        Forced Microsoft Account for Windows Login → Switch to Linux.
        • (Score: 2) by Freeman on Wednesday July 21, @04:06PM (1 child)

          by Freeman (732) on Wednesday July 21, @04:06PM (#1158765) Journal

          For clarification of "small amounts" of Habanero, we're talking about, 1 or two drops to a pot.

          --
          Forced Microsoft Account for Windows Login → Switch to Linux.
          • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 21, @07:06PM

            by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 21, @07:06PM (#1158855)

            Nah, 1-2 drops of habernaro is nowhere near hot enough.

            You need 3-4 drops of Ghost Pepper sauce to really get the temp to where it needs to be.

        • (Score: 2) by c0lo on Wednesday July 21, @10:57PM

          by c0lo (156) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday July 21, @10:57PM (#1158944) Journal

          Unless eaten in concentration or large amounts

          Personal experience - is mainly those seeds which you miss taking out and reach the end of the journey undigested that produce most of the ring of fire effect.
          But maybe I haven't had enough experience so far in the upper side of the scale.

          --
          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aoFiw2jMy-0
  • (Score: 3, Funny) by krishnoid on Wednesday July 21, @03:08AM (6 children)

    by krishnoid (1156) on Wednesday July 21, @03:08AM (#1158598)

    "Hey a salad! These cherry tomatoes look a little unusual, though."
    "Yes ... they're a different type. But definitely tomatoes, not hot peppers grown in zero-g so they turned out spherical. That would just be weird, I don't even know why I suggested that."

    • (Score: 1, Offtopic) by Runaway1956 on Wednesday July 21, @03:36AM (5 children)

      by Runaway1956 (2926) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday July 21, @03:36AM (#1158612) Homepage Journal

      FWIW, chiles aren't generally very hot. We could get into a discussion about which peppers are hot, and find ourselves sitting between habaneros and hell - but chiles are pretty mild.

      The angle I don't see explored here is, peppers are rich in vitamin C. That should come in handy for space travelers.

      --
      Make an actual interesting, germane, and relevant point and you may get away with Flamebait - 'Zumi
      • (Score: 1, Funny) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 21, @04:49AM (3 children)

        by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 21, @04:49AM (#1158640)

        Spot the guy who never cooked for kids. Black pepper is too hot, paprika is too hot, hell cumin is too hot. And don't talk to me about turmeric.

        • (Score: 2) by sjames on Wednesday July 21, @05:18AM

          by sjames (2882) on Wednesday July 21, @05:18AM (#1158649) Journal

          Some kids. I loved jalapeño peppers as a kid. Hardly the hottest pepper out there but considerably more than pepper or paprika. It all depends on the kid.

        • (Score: 2) by Runaway1956 on Wednesday July 21, @05:45AM

          by Runaway1956 (2926) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday July 21, @05:45AM (#1158661) Homepage Journal

          I raised 3 sons. I'll never forget the day I was left home with the three of them, and the two older boys just disappeared. I searched frantically for about 1/2 hour, before I FINALLY stumbled across them in the garden. (boys were about 2 1/2 feet tall, pepper plants ranged from 3 to 5 feet tall) The little shits were devouring all of the hot peppers. They didn't want anything to do with the bell peppers, they concentrated on the two rows of hot peppers.

          Like sjames told you, "some kids".

          --
          Make an actual interesting, germane, and relevant point and you may get away with Flamebait - 'Zumi
        • (Score: 1) by ncc74656 on Thursday July 22, @05:32PM

          by ncc74656 (4917) on Thursday July 22, @05:32PM (#1159164) Homepage

          Spot the guy who never cooked for kids.

          Back when I was a Boy Scout, I once made a pot of chili while we were out camping. For a batch that filled maybe half or a bit more of an 8-quart pot, I probably dumped in a half-cup of chili powder, not knowing just how hot that was going to be. Previously, Mom gave me a baggie with the right amount of chili powder to use, but this time she just gave me the whole jar and wondered why it came back nearly empty.

          It ended up too hot for most of the troop. :) It was about at the limit of what I could handle (nowadays, I'd use maybe a quarter-cup of chili powder for a nice bit of heat that may or may not need some Tabasco sprinkled on it). There was this Korean kid, though, who thought it was the greatest thing ever; he couldn't get enough of it.

      • (Score: 3, Informative) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 21, @08:13AM

        by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 21, @08:13AM (#1158696)

        I've done molecular biology on peppers and sweet/bell pepper in the past. The funny thing is that the switch "hot vs. sweet" is just one gene (which could potentially be crossed between some of the species), which is defect in the sweet pepper (it's missing the first part of the gene).

        Ref: https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1365-313X.2005.02410.x [wiley.com]

  • (Score: -1, Troll) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 21, @03:17AM

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 21, @03:17AM (#1158600)

    Can they handle the chilli pepper burnt diarhea?

  • (Score: -1, Flamebait) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 21, @03:29AM (12 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 21, @03:29AM (#1158608)

    Let's see the Chinese manage THAT.

    • (Score: 4, Funny) by c0lo on Wednesday July 21, @03:42AM

      by c0lo (156) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday July 21, @03:42AM (#1158615) Journal
      --
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aoFiw2jMy-0
    • (Score: 2) by captain normal on Wednesday July 21, @03:55AM (2 children)

      by captain normal (2205) on Wednesday July 21, @03:55AM (#1158621)

      Seems you've never tried to eat food from Sichuan and Hunan provinces.
      https://www.chinahighlights.com/travelguide/chinese-food/chuan-cuisine.htm [chinahighlights.com]

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 21, @04:12AM

        by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 21, @04:12AM (#1158630)

        Sichuan peppercorn and mala sauce. China's greatest contribution to the civilization.

        Try the Sichuan cold chicken salad.

      • (Score: 1, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 21, @05:34AM

        by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 21, @05:34AM (#1158657)

        I may be misinterpreting OP's comment, but I think it's more likely everybody else is. The point he was making is that growing a pepper is pretty trivial. Framing it as an accomplishment is little more than evidence of the decline of our capacity in space. One of China's recent experiments included deploying an ideally self sustaining entire ecosystem on the moon. That experiment is the sort of stuff we need to be aiming for.

    • (Score: 1, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 21, @03:56AM (7 children)

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 21, @03:56AM (#1158623)

      Surely the Chinese would be growing China peppers.

      Chile is a nation south of Peru.

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 21, @04:51AM (6 children)

        by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 21, @04:51AM (#1158642)

        The wikipedia link posted by c0lo above informs that the Chinese actually do have their own peppers and peppercorns. But, at some time or other, they imported chile peppers from Mexico. You might click links now and then, to learn what you didn't already know.

        • (Score: 1, Informative) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 21, @04:56AM (5 children)

          by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 21, @04:56AM (#1158644)

          Peppercorn (black pepper, white pepper, sichuan peppercorn, etc.) is not closely related to chili peppers of Americas.

          • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 21, @05:01AM (2 children)

            by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 21, @05:01AM (#1158645)

            Shoulda add: peppercorns are seeds, chili peppers are fruits.

            • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 21, @05:36AM

              by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 21, @05:36AM (#1158659)

              Potato, potaato, it's all the same when squirting out your ass as 500 km/h.

            • (Score: 2) by FatPhil on Wednesday July 21, @11:37AM

              Indeed.

              Peppercorns are the seed inside the fruit of a flowering plant, and which contains most of the pungent chemicals.
              Whereas chillis are the fruit of a flowering plant in which most of the pungent chemicals are concentrated in the seeds.

              Thanks for disambiguating so clearly.
              --
              I know I'm God, because every time I pray to him, I find I'm talking to myself.
          • (Score: -1, Troll) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 21, @05:34AM (1 child)

            by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 21, @05:34AM (#1158658)

            I don't recall suggesting that chiles are related to any Chinese peppers, peppercorns, or any other Chinese vegetable or spice. I merely pointed out that the Chinese have their peppers and peppercorns - and that they have adopted the chile pepper as well. The like chile peppers and they have become part of the cuisine.

            Again, click the link(s) and learn. Stop being an obtuse American.

            • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 21, @05:47AM

              by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 21, @05:47AM (#1158662)

              Click your asshole.

              Chilli peppers are from Americas. Not America - i.e., the USA, but from Americas, the north, the central, and southern Americas.

  • (Score: 2) by istartedi on Wednesday July 21, @04:49AM (3 children)

    by istartedi (123) on Wednesday July 21, @04:49AM (#1158639) Journal

    I grow chili peppers on Earth, and I can't tell you how much of a joy it would be to not worry about the ant/aphid dynamic that plays out every Summer here. OK, Zero-G might bring its own set of challenges but once you've figured them out you're golden. God help the Mars colony when insects get established.

    • (Score: 1, Funny) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 21, @05:29AM (1 child)

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 21, @05:29AM (#1158656)

      Used coffee grounds work as fertilizer and ant repellent. You can also medieval on their ass. And by that of course I mean building a little moat around your plants.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 21, @05:24PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 21, @05:24PM (#1158797)

      Clearly you're not familiar with space ants.

  • (Score: -1, Troll) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 21, @05:20AM (1 child)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 21, @05:20AM (#1158650)

    A bunch of embarassing white-man jokes because you don't realize that it's fucking weird that mild salsa turns your whole body red and leaves you panting?

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 21, @05:40AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 21, @05:40AM (#1158660)

      And yet, we are saving civilization. For you. From you.

  • (Score: -1, Flamebait) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 21, @05:26AM (2 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 21, @05:26AM (#1158653)

    "Researchers spent two years evaluating more than two dozen pepper varieties"

    I think that quote was supposed to emphasize how much care and effort went into the decision, but instead it just looks dumb. In that time period they could have already grown and harvested a good chunk of the entire two dozen options. This, in many ways, is a microcosm illustrating exactly why our progress in space has stalled out for the past 50 years.

    • (Score: 2) by Opportunist on Wednesday July 21, @06:54AM

      by Opportunist (5545) on Wednesday July 21, @06:54AM (#1158676)

      I'm fairly sure those 2 years were not spent on growing a plant, watching it grow, then grow the next one. They very likely did just that, plant a few batches, watch them grow, then draw conclusions and create the next line of tests.

      Growing plants depends on a whole lot of parameters where a minimal change can have enormous effects.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 21, @04:17PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 21, @04:17PM (#1158772)

      As compared to the prior 2000 years of progress?

  • (Score: 3, Informative) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 21, @05:58AM (5 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 21, @05:58AM (#1158666)

    Apparently there are several variations on the spelling of chilli:

    Quite simple, actually. "Chile" is a plant, or a country. "Chili" is a dish, or a restaurant, or a weather situation.

    Soon, our eds with be fully fleuent and bi-valent in the English language, and several others.

    • (Score: 2) by Opportunist on Wednesday July 21, @06:56AM (1 child)

      by Opportunist (5545) on Wednesday July 21, @06:56AM (#1158677)

      Right after they manage the art of copy/pasting? Like in this gem here?

      Hatch chile pepper seeds arrived at the statio

      --martyb]

      n in June aboard a SpaceX commercial resupply services mission.

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 21, @07:57AM

        by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 21, @07:57AM (#1158692)

        Probably was like that in the original submission. Nobody ever checks

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 21, @04:01PM (1 child)

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 21, @04:01PM (#1158760)

      I thought "chilly" was the weather condition's preferred spelling.

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 21, @04:19PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 21, @04:19PM (#1158773)

        Chillax bro.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday July 22, @06:40PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday July 22, @06:40PM (#1159181)

      See wikipedia entry:
      https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chili_pepper [wikipedia.org]

      "Chile" being the only way to spell the name of the pepper is only true in Spanish which is the language where the term originates. (Well, Spanish adopted the word from American Indians.)

      In English, we pronounce it "chillee", thus all the alternate spellings. In India, where they eat these peppers by the bucket, it's spelled "chilli".

  • (Score: 1, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 21, @06:34PM (2 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 21, @06:34PM (#1158832)

    To me doing this type of stuff up on the ISS indicates that they don't have anything to really do anymore. The "science" has been done already. There's no point to it anymore, at least not within the capabilities of the ISS itself. Perhaps a successor low-orbit station would be able to do additional actual interesting/useful things, but I really doubt even that.

    Or is this a cynical PR stunt to keep the ISS and the astronauts in the news so the rubes stay willing to spend tax dollars on NASA?

    • (Score: 1, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 21, @07:18PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 21, @07:18PM (#1158867)

      Researching how to grow crops in space is not science to you? Oooookkkkkk

      #NotAllScienceIsSexy

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday July 22, @04:55AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday July 22, @04:55AM (#1159032)

      It was either plants in space or the self-perception of trans pansexual teenagers. And the plants only clinched it because it was chillies.

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