The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) is gearing up to achieve another milestone. The plant experiments are being conducted in the zero-gravity lab, considered one of the longest and very challenging experiments. Along with conducting these experiments, the astronauts have started growing both red and green chile peppers in space.
To set another feather on the cap for massive achievements by NASA in space, the preparation for the growth of chile peppers has been in full swing. The seeds reached the International Space Station in June 2021, with the help of SpaceX’s commercial resupply services mission. q
NASA astronaut Shane Kimbrough, a flight engineer, was initially responsible for growing the red romaine lettuce. It took place in 2016. The experiment process of growth of red and green chile peppers is also under his supervision and conduct. Interestingly, he began the recent chile peppers experiment on July 12, 2021. In the experiment conducted by him on July 12, 2021, he inserted as many as 48 seeds in the Advanced Plant Habitat (APH).
Further, to make the experiment a success, the Exploration Research and Technology Programs belonging to the Kennedy Space Centre further planted those inserted seeds in a device dubbed as a science carrier. This slots into the APH, which holds the most prominent plant growth facility position on the International Space Station.
The structure for the experiment setup had as many as 180 sensors and controls. These sensors help in monitoring various aspects that will result in plant growth in space. The authorities ensure that the plants receive undivided attention only when it is the most needed and eliminates the risk of overdoing any step. Hence, NASA is here with a new experiment.
Also, the sensors allow the Kennedy Space Centre experts to keep proper track of the plant’s growth cycle. Also, the sensors keep a close call on the growth cycle and notice the changes and impact of various inputs. It further helps astronauts carry on with their work and research and only interfere when the plant growth requires quick attention.
The project is understood as a complex and complicated one conducted on the International Space Station because chile peppers opt for a long germination process. The growth of these also does not happen overnight. The growth time is extended. Matt Romeyn, a principal investigator, has seconded this fact.