Astronauts on the International Space Station (ISS) are tending to their veggie garden, where they are growing lettuce, radishes, and now mustard greens and pak choi. NASA astronaut Mike Hopkins has taken a lead role in the care and cultivation of the vegetables being grown on the space station in a number of experiments. He harvested the second crop of radishes grown in space , which the crew ate and enjoyed over the new year. He has also worked on two new experiments, one of which was involved the first transplant of a crop in space. When certain plants are lagging behind in their growth, they are rearranged to make the most of the nutrients available in a delicate procedure. Another experiment involved the first planting of lettuce seeds in orbit. Normally, seeds are planted into a nutrient medium on the ground before being sent to the ISS. But the development of a new seed film allows the astronauts to plant crops themselves. Hopkins recently disused the importance of these experiments for long-term space missions, pointing out two reasons they are essential for the future. "First, plants grown in space provide a food source that could enhance astronaut nutrition while… Read full this story
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