Space Just Got Spiced Up -

While we are on Earth enjoying our delicious New Mexico-grown Hatch chiles, NASA astronauts are up on the International Space Station (ISS) doing the same, only their Hatch chiles were grown in space! That’s right! On October 29, 2021, several Hatch chiles were harvested from their zero-gravity growing environment, making history as the very first chiles to be successfully grown in space. The New Mexico native seeds or cultivar, which was developed at New Mexico State University, were delivered to the ISS on June 5, 2021, via the Space Dragon CRS-22 commercial resupply mission. On July 13, 2021, NASA announced that they were growing, and four months later the peppers were ready to be picked. The astronauts present for the big day were Mark Vande Hei, Shane Kimbrough, Akihiko Hoshide, and Megan McArthur. 

The crew celebrated by enjoying some zero-gravity tacos made by McArthur. She even shared the recipe. Fajita beef, rehydrated tomatoes and artichokes, and Hatch chiles. They must have been truly out-of-this-world delicious!

This experiment is part of a project to test different foods that can be grown in space and used to sustain life for future expeditions to the moon and Mars. The Hatch chiles have been preceded by a few other successful harvests, including Mizuna mustard, relishes, radishes, zinnias, and three types of lettuce. NASA also reported that since several of the plants flowered, this ensures there will be future harvests. If you ask me, living on the moon sounds pretty nice if I can still enjoy New Mexico chilis. 

Stay up to date on other food experiments being conducted among the stars and more on the NASA website or ISS Twitter page.

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