comScore Space Peas Grown on the ISS to Help Feed Future Astronauts | The Mary Sue
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Peas Grown on the ISS Have Been Deemed Safely Edible, Space Peas Are Now a Real Food

I can't even keep plants alive on Earth, so this is pretty impressive.

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In billions of years, when the Earth is engulfed by the sun, or when we need to escape the robot apocalypse, or when we can’t stop the zombie plague, or just when we want to colonize Mars, we’re going to need food to sustain us on long space trips. That’s why Russian cosmonauts have been growing vegetables in space to see if they’re as edible as regular vegetables.

They’ve successfully grown peas, wheat, and some leafy greens in the ISS greenhouse, so they can probably put together a pretty decent salad. The food has been confirmed at least safe to eat, so it’s about as good as vegetables on Earth, which is great news for future space missions.

Adding enough prepackaged food to a launch to keep astronauts fed on a long-term mission would add a lot of weight, which of course would raise fuel consumption and costs. Seeds, on the other hand, are an alternative that would be relatively easier to transport as well as keeping astronauts from missing real food too much. Aside from providing space crews with food, the plants could also make themselves useful by purifying water and recycling carbon dioxide into oxygen for astronauts, which makes them much more useful than packets of freeze-dried ice cream that don’t do anything aside from taste delicious.

Next, they plan on trying their hand at growing rice and some bell peppers, so maybe they’ll be able to whip up some kind of space stir-fry, which sounds a lot better than a pile of lettuce and peas. Kids, if you want to grow up to be an astronaut, eat your vegetables — not just to grow up big and strong and stuff, but because that’s probably what you’ll be eating up there anyway.

(via Phys.org, image via Richard North)

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