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NASA: Let’s make ketchup in tomato research on the International Space Station

NASA: Let’s make ketchup in tomato research on the International Space Station

(Agenbaerle Agency) – Rome, December 14, 2023 – Growing food aboard the International Space Station is one of many research investigations ready for long-duration space missions to the Moon and Mars.

NASA astronaut Frank Rubio Share it recently The spicy story of two rogue tomatoes, who accidentally lost track of them while harvesting to experiment with an open-orbit root test system ( X Roots ) which he conducted aboard the space station in 2022. The experiment uses hydroponic and aeroponic farming techniques to grow plants without soil or other growth media and could provide suitable solutions for plant systems needed for future space exploration missions.

during Celebration On the 25th anniversary of space station operations, Expedition 70 crew members revealed that they had found the missing tomatoes, and joked that Rubio had not eaten them as they had suspected. Although nearly a year had passed since the tomatoes initially disappeared, the fruit was found in a dried and slightly crushed plastic bag. Other than some discoloration, there was no obvious microbial or fungal growth.

During his record-breaking 371-day stay in the United States aboard the station, Rubio also conducted another peeling experiment for study. Vegetarian-05 This helps meet the need for a continuous fresh food production system in space. This experiment used the space station’s vegetable plant to grow dwarf tomatoes with an emphasis on the effect of light and fertilizer quality on fruit production, microbial food safety, nutritional value, and taste acceptability by the crew.

While the stray tomatoes were found by The space station continues With Plant Habitat-03, which will return to Earth in the coming period immersion From SpaceX’s 29th commercial resupply mission. Plant Habitat-03 is one of the first multi-generational studies of plants aboard the space station that could help researchers evaluate whether genetic modifications in one generation of space-grown plants can be passed on to the next. The results of this study could help identify genetic elements that increase the adaptability of plants to spaceflight, and provide information on how to grow repeated generations of crops to provide food and other services on future space missions.

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The benefits of growing plants in space do not stop there, as astronauts reported that there are psychological benefits to time spent gardening, which increases the quality of life in space and enhances morale. Research aboard the space station is developing the technology and scientific knowledge needed to successfully grow plants in space and help humans push the limits of space travel. This work also helps in efforts to improve plants grown for food and other important uses here on Earth.