Astronauts Begin Producing Third Lettuce Crop In Space

Astronauts Begin Producing Third Lettuce Crop In Space

lettuce grown in the space station

In the summer of 2015, “Outredgeous” red romaine lettuce was grown from the Veggie Plant Growth System.
Photo courtesy of NASA

Last week, NASA astronaut Shane Kimbrough began the Veg-03 experiment to grow plants for food. This was one of his first science assignments as a new crew member aboard the orbiting laboratory, which is also known as the International Space Station, according to an article on NASA.gov.

In the future, astronauts embarking on long space missions will need to produce food to supplement their diets. Using the Veggie plant growth facility aboard the station, Veg-03 builds on the successes of previous studies, including Veg-01.

Advertisement

In 2015, Veg-01 resulted in the first on-orbit harvest and sampling of fresh produce. The Veg-03 crop will be the Veggie team’s first on-orbit attempt at a new, repetitive harvest technique termed ‘Cut-and-Come-Again,’ according to the article.

When plants are about a month old, some of the leaves can be harvested and some can be used for science samples. Leaves are left on the plants and the core of the plant is left with the anticipation of more leaves to be produced.