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

Accepted submission by TheMightyChickadee at 2021-07-19 01:58:42 from the A-hua! dept.

Grow operation in space, but this time with a spicy edge!
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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.

It is not easy to become an astronaut, even if you are a vegetable.

Researchers spent two years evaluating more than two dozen pepper varieties and eventually landed on the NuMex "EspaƱola 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.

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