Scientists are trying to find out as many options as they can for the vegetable production system in the outer space by creating pressurised controlled environment. It not only serves the humans in spaceflight with food but also provide them with the refreshing environment by converting the carbon dioxide into oxygen. It is also said to provide psychological benefit to them.
This time astronauts have successfully harvest Chinese cabbage on the International Space Station (ISS), the credit for which goes to astronaut Peggy Whitson. Four more crops have been harvested before the recent one. The grown plant will be consumed by the astronauts and will also be studied at Kennedy Space Station.
NASA’s Johnson Space Center’s Space Food Systems team welcomed four candidates who picked up the option of Tokyo Bekana (Chinese cabbage), after evaluating the nutritional values and various other factors and finally giving volunteers the taste, of their samples of all the options available of leafy vegetables.
NASA has reported the problem of dullness of taste buds in astronauts during their flights, along with the inability to smell. This might be the result of the absence of gravity, due to which the fluid in the body that is pulled down to earth, spreads equally throughout their body and interferes with the senses. Therefore they eat more hot sauce and honey. Chinese cabbage might help them in awakening their tastes, and even if it doesn’t, packets of ranch dressing will be sent to let them dip and enjoy.
Not only crops, but scientists have managed to growing flowers, Arabidopsis being the first one. At the end of this year, they are planning to send NASA’S plant growth chamber to ISS, this will be placed next to the current camber and will provide astronauts with more space to grow their own crops. It will also expand the knowledge of scientists on how plants adjust themselves in such conditions. The Advanced Plant Habitat is the largest of all the plant growth chamber that owned by NASA.