You can be on Entrepreneur’s cover!

For the First Time Ever, NASA Astronauts Eat Vegetables Grown in Space Space gardens mean more delicious meals aboard the International Space Station, and they are also a critical development for the march towards life on Mars.

By Catherine Clifford

entrepreneur daily

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

NASA
Red romaine lettuce grown in space.

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.

Catherine Clifford

Senior Entrepreneurship Writer at CNBC

Catherine Clifford is senior entrepreneurship writer at CNBC. She was formerly a senior writer at Entrepreneur.com, the small business reporter at CNNMoney and an assistant in the New York bureau for CNN. Clifford attended Columbia University where she earned a bachelor's degree. She lives in Brooklyn, N.Y. You can follow her on Twitter at @CatClifford.

Want to be an Entrepreneur Leadership Network contributor? Apply now to join.

Editor's Pick

Side Hustle

He Took His Side Hustle Full-Time After Being Laid Off From Meta in 2023 — Now He Earns About $200,000 a Year: 'Sweet, Sweet Irony'

When Scott Goodfriend moved from Los Angeles to New York City, he became "obsessed" with the city's culinary offerings — and saw a business opportunity.

Travel

Save on Business Travel with Matt's Flight's Premium, Only $80 for Life

This premium plan features customized flight deal alerts and one-on-one planning with Matt himself.

Science & Technology

Here's One Reason Urban Transportation Won't Look the Same in a Decade

Micro-EVs may very well be the future of city driving. Here's why, and how investors can get ahead of it.

Health & Wellness

Do You Want to Live to Be 100? This Researcher Has the Answer to Why Longevity is Not a Quick Fix or Trendy Diet

Ozempic, cold plunges, sobriety and the latest health fads are not what science reveals will help you live a longer and healthier life.

Data & Recovery

Better Communicate Data with Your Team for $20 with Microsoft Visio

Visio features a wide range of diagramming tools that can support projects across all industries.