Astronauts Scott Kelly, Kjell Lindgren, and Kimiya Yui all munched on red romaine lettuce this afternoon, except unlike your sad desk salad, this produce was grown on the International Space Station. It was the first time people have eaten food cultivated in space.
Growing crops will be a vital part of long-duration space missions — providing a sustainable source of food. That’s why NASA created a plant experiment, called Veg-01, which aims to test out the space station's Veggie facility, meant to grow plants. The first crop of produce for Veg-01 was planted in May 2014 and returned to Earth in October for safety testing. The lettuce eaten today was planted on July 8th.
Unlike your sad desk salad, this produce was grown on the ISS
Lindgren cut out half of the lettuce from the rooting "pillow," which contains the seeds and soil for the plants. He then had to clean the lettuce with citric-acid based sanitizing wipes. The astronauts added extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar to the lettuce before taking their first bites together. "That's awesome," remarked Lindgren, while Kelly noted it tasted like arugula.
Watch the entire dining experience in GIF form below:
NASA's year on the International Space Station