For the First Time Ever, NASA Astronauts Eat Vegetables Grown in Space

For the First Time Ever, NASA Astronauts Eat Vegetables Grown in Space
Image credit: NASA
Red romaine lettuce grown in space.

Grow Your Business, Not Your Inbox

Stay informed and join our daily newsletter now!
Senior Entrepreneurship Writer at CNBC
3 min read

Today, for the first time ever, astronauts aboard the International Space Station are going to eat vegetables that they grew in space in an area fittingly called Veggie.

Growing and eating vegetables in space is not only important for the taste buds of astronauts but also because it allows for longer space travel and is a necessary step for the possibility of one day living on Mars -- helping determine what will be growing on the Red Planet and how it will be done.

The vegetables are grown out of little pillow-like packets in a system that was designed and tested by Madison, Wisc.-based Orbital Technologies Corp. The plants grow under red, blue and green LED light in an open-air environment (the veggies had to be tested before consumption to ensure there were no odd particles in the space air).

First on the space-vegetable menu is red romaine lettuce. Astronauts will eat half of the lettuce and bring the other half of the lettuce back to earth for further study, according to a statement from NASA about the space gardening. The crew is also growing flowers to see how they do in zero gravity, which could play a role in studying pollination of other items, including fruit.

Maintaining a garden in space will also keep astronauts happy. One of the less glamorous aspects of traveling in space is that you spend countless hours cramped up in a tiny space. "Besides having the ability to grow and eat fresh food in space, there also may be a psychological benefit. The crew does get some fresh fruits or vegetables, such as carrots or apples, when a supply ship arrives at the space station. But the quantity is limited and must be consumed quickly," says Dr. Gioia Massa, the NASA scientist working on the vegetable project at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center.

More from Entrepreneur

We created the Start Your Own Business (SYOB) course to help you get started on your entrepreneurial journey. You will learn everything you need to know about testing the viability of your idea, writing a business plan, raising funds, and opening for business.
Jumpstart Your Business. Entrepreneur Insider is your all-access pass to the skills, experts, and network you need to get your business off the ground—or take it to the next level.
Entrepreneur Store scours the web for the newest software, gadgets & web services. Explore our giveaways, bundles, "Pay What You Want" deals & more.

Latest on Entrepreneur