For the first time astronauts on the International Space Station (ISS) have eaten fresh food grown in space.
The red romaine lettuce, dubbed “space salad” by the station’s occupants, was grown from seeds in zero gravity under special LED lights in a special pod on the ISS, the Telegraph reported on Monday.
The leaves were harvested by US Astronaut Kjell Lindgren with tongs, and then presented to other crew members.
Astronaut Scott Kelly tended to the lettuce while it was growing from seed, which were flown to station in April 2014 on board a SpaceX spacecraft.
The seeds were planted in special rooting pillows containing fertilizer and soil with a unique irrigation system as water cannot be poured in zero gravity.
A separate batch of lettuce was grown last year on the station, but it was not eaten as it was sent back to Earth for testing.
“There is evidence that supports the idea that fresh foods such as tomatoes, blueberries and red lettuce are a good source of antioxidants,” said NASA scientist Dr Ray Wheeler.
“Having fresh food like these available in space could have a positive impact on people’s moods and also could provide some protection against radiation in space.”
According to NASA, if mankind is to travel further into space, they will need to grow their own food during the trip and this was an experiment to test if it was possible.
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