Thursday, August 11, 2022

NASA astronaut harvests two different crops in space, enjoys leafy greens


In a major achievement, National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) astronaut Michael Hopkins has successfully harvested two crops aboard the ISS and offered his colleagues a fresh supply of vegetables.

According to NASA, astronauts on the ISS recently enjoyed a fresh supply of leafy greens. Michael Hopkins harvested Amara mustard ‘Extra Dward’ pak choi in the space. It is pertinent to mention here that Amara mustard has been harvested for the first time on the ISS. They were grown for 64 days, the longest leafy greens have grown on station.

In fact, the pak choi grew so much that it began to flower as a part of its reproduction cycle. One way Hopkins contributed to this was using a small paintbrush to pollinate the flowers. He did so after consulting with Kennedy’s Matt Romeyn — a space crop production project scientist and science lead on four plant experiments. They looked at several possibilities including the possibility of letting the flowers self-pollinate.

Hopkins consumed pak choi as a side dish with the leaves marinated in an empty tortilla package. He tossed it with some soy sauce and garlic and heated it in a food warmer for 20 to 30 minutes.

Hopkins explained that it tasted like a lettuce wrap while adding ingredients like chicken, soy sauce and balsamic vinegar. In his notes, he described the Amara mustard as ‘delicious, plus the texture or crunch.”

NASA’s Kennedy Space Centre soon plans on sending pepper seeds to the space station as a part of the Plant Habitat-04 experiment that will see the growth of those seeds. These will be a part of SpaceX’s 22nd Commercial resupply services mission. They also plan on growing dwarf tomatoes.


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