Rad(ish)! NASA successfully harvested radishes on the International Space Station
The red vegetable is an ideal food source for astronauts to grow while embarking on deep space missions.
One small step for man, one giant leek for mankind.
A group of astronauts on the International Space Station made history last week after successfully harvesting the first batch of fresh radishes grown in outer space.
On Nov. 30, NASA flight engineer Kate Rubins picked 20 radishes grown in the space station’s Advanced Plant Habitat and wrapped them in foil for cold storage until they (the astronauts and the radishes) trek back to Earth in 2021, CNN reports.
The International Space Station’s official Twitter account posted a GIF of Rubins holding a space radish to celebrate the historic event:
Today’s @Space_Station radish harvest is complete! ☑️— ISS Research (@ISS_Research) November 30, 2020
NASA astronaut Kate Rubins prepped the radishes for their journey back to Earth, where scientists will analyze them. Astronauts will soon grow a second crop of the vegetables for even more science! pic.twitter.com/hUfUaoSn0I
According to Food and Wine, radishes require a short cultivation time, which makes the vegetable an ideal food source for astronauts to grow while embarking on deep space missions in years to come. Radishes can reach full maturity in just 27 short days, according to Food and Wine.
In addition to their speedy cultivation period, the root vegetables also require little maintenance from the crew as they grow.
Radishes are also great specimens for research purposes. Their “sensitive bulb formations” can be used to analyze CO2 effects and mineral acquisition and distribution, Food and Wine reports.
CNN reports that radishes are the latest type of fresh produce to be successfully cultivated in zero gravity. They join “Outredgeous” red romaine lettuce, green lettuce, Chinese cabbage, lentils, mustard and nine other plants, according to a NASA fact sheet.
NASA’s YouTube channel recently uploaded a 10-second time lapse of the space radishes’ 27-day growing period. You can watch it here: