If you don’t prefer tomatoes on your tables, maybe you’ll like to devour them hundreds of kilometers above the Earth’s surface. That’s what astronauts from the International Space Station (ISS) seem to have had in mind when they decided to grow dwarf tomatoes in space.
NASA reveals the experiment of ISS astronauts to grow dwarf tomatoes in space. The process is still ongoing and currently entering the Veg-05 phase while everybody is waiting for the final outcome of the experiment.
Growing tomatoes in space in the name of science
Growing food in space is not something completely new. Astronauts have done it before in the Vegetable Production System (aka Veggie), which is the garden of the space station. Despite being very small compared to a real garden, Veggie is also used to grow dwarf tomatoes.
Perhaps you’re wondering why someone would grow dwarf tomatoes in space. In a nutshell, there are purely scientific purposes behind the idea. Gioia Massa, a project scientist at NASA Life Sciences, brings details, as the official website of the famous space agency quotes:
We are testing tomatoes, looking at the impacts of light spectrum on how well the crop grows, how delicious and nutritious the tomatoes are, and the microbial activity on the fruit and plants,
We also are examining the overall effect of growing, tending, and eating crops on crew behavioral health. All of this will provide valuable data for future space exploration.
Whether you’re an astronaut or not, eating tomatoes is very beneficial for your health. Tomatoes can get a lot of vitamin C, vitamin K, potassium, and folate into the consumer’s body, and they represent the major dietary source of the antioxidant lycopene. Many health benefits are linked to the latter chemical compound, including a reduced risk of cancer.
Is anybody up for some extraterrestrial tomatoes on their plates?