Lettuce Feast: Astronauts Get First Taste of Veggies Harvested in Space
What the astronauts said after their first taste of space lettuce.
By ALYSSA NEWCOMB
August 10, 2015, 4:02 PM
• 4 min read
-- Lettuce feast!
After clinking their lettuce leaves together for a quick "cheers," the American astronauts at the International Space Station dined today on "Outredgeous" red romaine lettuce grown in space. It was the first time astronauts had sampled the produce from their space garden.
"Tastes good, kind of like arugula," Scott Kelly said after taking his first bite. The astronauts first tasted the lettuce plain before dressing it up with some olive oil and balsamic vinegar.
The harvest comes from NASA's Veg-01 experiment, which is studying how plants grow in orbit -- potentially giving astronauts on future long-haul missions the ability to grow their own meals and enjoy fresh produce in space.
“We’re going to have to have a spacecraft that is much more self sustainable with regards to its food supply," Kelly said, explaining the importance the produce experiment will have on a potential future trip to Mars. "There's going to be a long period of time when we’re going to have to be completely self sufficient."
Before dining on the leafy vegetable, astronaut Dr. Kjell Lindgren first cleaned the lettuce with citric acid-based sanitizing wipes. The other half of the produce will be packaged, frozen and sent back to Earth at a later date where it will be analyzed by scientists.
Today's comes from the second ever space harvest and will be the first time astronauts will be allowed to dine on the fresh space-grown produce. (An initial harvest was sent back to Earth in October 2014 for food safety analysis.)
After getting in their servings of veggies, Kelly and Lindgren said they planned to save some of the leafy greens for their cosmonaut colleagues who were busy conducting a spacewalk outside the International Space Station.