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Lettuce goes where few men have gone before

Mizuna Lettuce Grown in the International Space Station

NASA

Plus cameos from former International Space Station crewmembers Zucchini, Broccoli and Sunflower

Early in the history of the U.S.' space program, space ice cream caught the imagination of American youngsters. Now, NASA and other researchers are developing a different kind of space food-space-grown vegetables, whose little roots would never touch Earth. (And which could actually be tastier than those weird, dry ice cream blocks.)

Modern Farmer has a feature today covering ongoing research into growing edible plants in space. There's a NASA effort to send romaine lettuce planters to the International Space Station, programs investigating crop production in Mars-like environments, and longer-term projects looking to grow soybeans and grains. Such space-farmed produce could save on the weight of the supplies astronauts need to bring with them; provide astronauts with a tastier and more nutritious diet; and even offer some psychological comfort. One of my favorite parts of the feature? The excerpts from American astronaut Don Pettit's writings about a zucchini plant he brought to space not for food, but just for fun. Go check it out.

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