Houston, We Have Veggies: NASA Will Grow Lettuce In Zero Gravity

This December, NASA will begin its first-ever attempt to grow sustainable food supplies in space, starting with six romaine lettuce plants.

Houston, We Have Veggies: NASA Will Grow Lettuce In Zero Gravity

You might enjoy the packages of freeze-dried “astronaut” ice cream found at many museum gift shops, but real space food isn’t known for being nearly as delicious. (Space shrimp, anyone?) But this December, NASA is embarking on its first attempt to farm fresh food in space to sustain astronauts, according to a new Modern Farmer report.

NASA plans to launch six romaine lettuce plants to the International Space Station, where they will be grown under pink LED lights and ready to harvest in 28 days. The lettuce plants are the inaugural project of NASA’s Vegetable Production System, or Veggie, which, if successful, could help offset much of the $10,000 it costs to send a pound of food to the ISS.

Though NASA has experimented with various plant growth methods before, the romaine lettuce plants will represent the first time it will attempt to grow sustainable food for human consumption in space. NASA is also currently working with Systems and Materials Research Consultancy, based in Austin, Texas, to explore the possibility of using 3-D printers to make space food.

Read the full report at Modern Farmer.

[Image: Flickr user my_southborough]

About the author

Christina is an associate editor at Fast Company, where she writes about technology, social media, and business.