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Veggie experiment onboard ISS wraps up

Liam Garman

Three vegetables have been grown aboard the International Space Station, culminating in early April, to better understand how plants can be grown in space.

Veggie experiment onboard ISS wraps up
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Michael Hopkins of the International Space Station’s (ISS) Expedition 64 crew has been busy at work onboard the spacecraft, growing an array of plants as part of the Vegetable Production System (Veggie) experiment.

The experiment, which lasted for 64 days, was finally harvested on 13 April, making it the longest period that plants have been grown on board the ISS.

Samples of the vegetables will be sent back to earth for testing to better understand how plants can be grown throughout future space missions.

The experiment examined the growth of three different crops in the space environment; mustard, pak choi and red romaine lettuce.

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In fact, the experiment was conducted for long enough for the pak choi to begin flowering, at which point Hopkins used a paintbrush to help pollinate the flowers.

“This experimentation is important because fruit crops require pollination, and crews need to understand how the process works in microgravity and, eventually, in reduced gravity,” James Cawley, editor at NASA, wrote.

It is hoped that the findings of the experiment will support further development in space horticulture.

[Related: Extended Lockheed, NEC partnership to support Artemis mission]

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