CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (CBS Tampa) – A NASA veggie farm will allow astronauts who have been longing for lettuce to finally grow their own in space.
NASA is sending a mini-farm into space when SpaceX launches its next Dragon cargo mission to the International Space Station, according to Space.com.
A small plant growth chamber built to let astronauts grow “Outredgeous” lettuce in orbit will be included in the cargo.
Nicknamed “Veggie”, the chamber that the lettuce will grow in was built to collapse for transportation and storage.
NASA’s goal of this project is to see how well plants grow in orbit. If this Veg-01 experiment goes well and the food proves to be safe, scientists hope to expand the menu to other items.
“Veggie will provide a new resource for U.S. astronauts and researchers as we begin to develop the capabilities of growing fresh produce and other large plants on the space station,” Gioia Massa, a NASA payload scientist for Veggie explained in a statement to Space.com. “Determining food safety is one of our primary goals for this validation test.”
The Veggie plant chamber is the biggest plant chamber in space to date measuring 1.5 feet long.
NASA has tested a version of the chamber on the ground at the Kennedy Space Center’s space life sciences laboratory where lettuce and radishes successfully grew.