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NASA is growing chili peppers on the International Space Station – Times of India

July 20, 2021

Astronauts aboard the International Space Station (ISS) are growing red and green chile (chili) peppers these days, as per a report by Slashgear. This is part of NASA’s Plant Habitat-04 (PH-04) experiment in which different varieties of food are grown inside the space station for consumption. The Hatch chili pepper seeds have been sent to the ISS to be grown in an artificial environment and will take several months to grow, as per the report. As per a representative of NASA’s Kennedy Space Center, “This will be one of the longest and most challenging plant experiments attempted aboard the orbital lab.”
Why chili peppers? Because they are high in Vitamin-C, do not need extensive processing and are spicy. Astronauts need such types of foods as their sense of smell and taste gets affected after living for long periods of time in microgravity, the report quotes PH-04 principal investigator Matt Romeyn.

As per Romeyn, growing colourful plants and vegetables in space has helped the astronauts and improved their sense of well being. Their colours and smells have got something to do with that, believes the principal investigator.
The whole experiment was launched by NASA astronaut Shane Kimbrough, who is said to be one of the astronauts responsible for growing and eating lettuce– the “Outredgeous” red romaine lettuce–on the ISS in 2016. It looks like growing vegetables in space could make the astronauts happier as they have to spend months aboard the space station usually.

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