ISS astronauts to grow tomatoes and rice …. IN SPAAAAACE

Plutonian peas and cosmic capsicum already proven safe for human consumption

International Space Station

Plants grown aboard the International Space Station (ISS) have produced food that is entirely safe to eat, even after several generations of propagation, Russian scientists have revealed.

Reports from Russia suggest Margarita Levinskikh, a researcher at the Institute of Biomedical Problems who has form dating back to the MIR space station as an astro-veggie boffin, told a conference in Moscow this week that ISS astronauts have harvested peas, dwarf wheat and “Japanese leafy greens”. All have checked out as fine for human consumption.

Levinskikh told a Moscow conference that plans are now afoot to grow rice, capsicum (bell peppers) and tomatoes in space for the first time, with crops expected to be planted 2015. Onboard systems will need a tweak to cope with the gases required and produced by the extra plants.

The crops are designed to advance our understanding of just how longer manned missions might feed themselves, an important issue inasmuch as the ISS requires regular resupply rockets to bring food to its residents. If humanity can figure out how to grow food in space, launch vehicle payloads can be devoted to other items.

Tthe research discussed by Levinskikh reportedly, says Voice of Russia , examined five generations of peas grown in space, each using seeds produced by the previous generation. Even the fifth generation did not show decreased yields and was declared “absolutely normal and did not differ a lot from the plants grown on Earth.”

All of which is good news, unless an Astronaut gets a craving for a burger. ®

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