Shungiku, Red Romaine, and Mustard are being eyed as potential plant space crops


Image Credit: NASA

Jess Bunchek, an associate scientist at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida, observes plant cultivars inside the Veggie growth chamber in the Space Station Processing Facility prior to harvesting them on Sept. 30, 2019, for a science verification test (SVT).

This SVT will study the potential of three plants – amara mustard, ‘outredgeous’ red romaine lettuce and shungiku, an Asian green comparable to an edible chrysanthemum – to grow in space. All three lettuce plants were grown from seed film, making this the first SVT with this new plant growth material. Earlier this year, the amara mustard and shungiku plants were grown for the first time using seed bags – referred to as pillows – during the Sustained Veggie project, a study funded by the Human Research Program.

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