NASA is all set to make space a little spicier. As the plan goes – researchers are trying to grow fruiting plant at the International Space Station. Researchers at NASA are working hard to launch Española chili pepper plants (Capsicum annuum), into space. It could be the first fruit that is grown and harvested in space.
Why is it important to grow fruit in space? According to Jacob Torres, a NASA scientist, if human begins to travel to Moon and Mars regularly, they will need food. And to send astronauts to Mars, it’s crucial that the agency find plants and fruits that can travel with them.
As per calculation, even the shortest trip to Mars will take two years, and the traditional packaged meal will not suffice enough vitamins and nutrients for astronauts on the long journey.
They would be able to fill their stomachs up, but they wouldn’t have the nutrients to do their work – Jacob Torres, Scientist, NASA
Why chile peppers? Growing fruiting plants in space has to be done carefully, especially when it comes to potential food options for future missions. It is not easy to grow a plant in space as it must be fertilized and needs a high CO2 environment. And Scientists found that certain chile peppers can do both these things.
Not only can chile peppers survive in extreme conditions, but they are also packed with vitamins. It will help them fight the health problems that they might face in space. Due to zero gravity, the body fluids rise to the head, making them feel to have a constant cold, these peppers will be able to provide a boost of vitamin C.
NASA is planning to send the peppers off to the International Space Station between November and January.