Astronauts aboard the International Space Station (ISS) have harvested the first crop of Chinese cabbage.
While the space station crew will get to eat some of the Tokyo Bekana Chinese cabbage harvested by astronaut Peggy Whitson, the rest is being saved for scientific study back at NASA’s Kennedy Space Centre.
This is the fifth crop grown aboard the station, and the first Chinese cabbage. The crop was chosen after evaluating several leafy vegetables on a number of criteria, such as how well they grow and their nutritional value.
This year, a second Veggie system will be sent up to be seated next to the current one. It will provide side—by—side comparisons for future plant experiments and will hopefully make astronauts happy to have a bigger space garden.
Aboard the next resupply mission to the space station will be an experiment involving Arabidopsis, a small flowering plant, and petri plates inside the Veggie facility.
Arabidopsis is the genetic model of the plant world, making it a perfect sample organism for performing genetic studies.