Astronauts: In one of the most complex experiments ever performed on the International Space Station (ISS), astronauts are growing peppers in orbit. The novelty is part of a project that aims to expand the supply of food grown in space for future long-term missions, such as the long-awaited trip to Mars.
Started last Monday (12), the experiment called “Plant Habitat-04” uses 48 New Mexico Chile pepper seeds. They were planted on a scientific conveyor and placed in the Advanced Plant Habitat (APH), one of the chambers for planting and harvesting crops on the ISS.
Also known as Hatch Green Chile, the peppers will grow accompanied by the crew and the ground team, taking advantage of the 180 sensors and controls installed in the APH. The expectation is that they will be ready for harvest within four months.
The peppers, which can be consumed while still unripe or after ripening, will have part of it savored in the Station itself and the rest sent to Earth. In soil, the samples will undergo deeper analysis, to assess factors such as flavor, texture and the “warmth” of the plants.