Astronauts have grown a batch of chili pepper seeds on the International Space Station as part of a new experiment aimed at expanding the range of foods grown in space ahead of a possible future mission to Mars, and the 48 Hatch chili seeds have arrived at the orbital position on June 5 with a commercial resupply mission. SpaceX Dragon CRS-22 Red and green peppers have begun to grow as part of NASA’s Plant Habitat 04 Experiment, NASA said.
According to space, astronauts get most of their fresh food supplies from cargo ships, but previous versions of the Habitat experiment have already produced some food.
During the previous three seasons, crews had obtained space-grown red lettuce, Mizuna mustard, and two other types of lettuce and radish, and the astronauts had also grown flowering plants, such as zinnia, to spruce up their living quarters.
An experiment team with NASA’s Kennedy Space Center’s Exploration and Technology Research Program applauded the crew’s efforts to continue developing space food as part of a larger research effort to feed astronauts on deep space missions. land and they will have to grow more food locally.
“It’s one of the most complex plant experiments on the station to date due to the long germination and growing times,” Matt Rumen, principal investigator at Plant Habitat-04, said in a NASA statement.
“We previously tested flowering to increase the chance of a successful harvest because astronauts would have to pollinate peppers to grow the fruit,” Romain added.
The experiment was also hosted in the Advanced Plant Habitat, one of three plant rooms in which astronauts can grow and harvest food, flowers, and other crops.