NASA target crops

NASA does not currently have a specific target crop list, but over the years, lists have included staple crops such as wheat, rice, and potatoes for full bioregenerative life support.  NASA is focusing on developing supplemental food production.  The International Space Station does not have cooking capability so the current target plant focus is salad, herbs, microgreens, and small fruits. Crops are being surveyed at the Kennedy Space Center and NASA is working with middle and high school students who are helping survey varieties through the Fairchild Gardens educational program.  Salad crops have to be small in size, high yielding, have a high harvest index, not require dormancy, grow from seeds, etc.  NASA is also working on designing a system for root crops and tubers in microgravity.

Target Candidates:

  • Outredgeous lettuce
  • Chinese cabbage
  • Mizuna
  • Bok choi
  • Dwarf Basil
  • Red Rocket Tomato


NASA VEGGIE Director and Astrobotanist Gioia Massa discusses VEGGIE