Today is a big day for NASA research: Astronauts will eat food grown in space for the first time. NASA has been experimenting with crops grown in space for a while as part of its “Veggie” program, created with SpaceX and developed by Orbital Technologies Corp., which launched last year. Now, one year later, astronauts will eat lettuce grown on board the International Space Station.The lettuce was cultivated using powerful blue and red LEDs in confined growing spaces.
There’s no word yet on how the lettuce will be prepared, but it will be the first-ever alternative to dehydrated astronaut food. It’s also a preliminary step toward being able to sustain humans in space, and is a critical part of NASA’s Journey to Mars project. Plus, according to NASA scientists, space lettuce could have a profound impact on astronauts on the space station.
“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,” said Ray Wheeler, the project’s lead researcher, in a statement.
The method of using LEDs to grow plants could also impact agriculture on Earth, NASA researchers said, making this space mission a win-win for everyone.