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NASA Expected to Grow Vegetables in Space (Video)

First Posted: Apr 15, 2014 02:35 PM EDT

Thank the International Space Station for taking on a healthier mission. The Vegetable Production System, otherwise known as 'Veggie,' will be sent to the space station aboard the SpaceX Dragon CRS-3 mission, allowing astronauts to also add fresh salad to their menu and determine the feasibility and safety of horticulture in space.

The chamber will consist of packed plants formed into special 'pillows' with a flat-panel light of red, blue and green LEDs, that will help give the appropriate nutrients for the cabin's temperature and CO2 to properly facilitate plant growth, according to Venture Beat.

"Veggie will provide a new resource for U.S. astronauts and researchers as we begin to develop the capabilities of growing fresh produce and other large plants on the space station," said Gioia Massa, NASA payload scientist for Veggie, via a statement. "Determining food safety is one of our primary goals for this validation test."

'Veggie' was developed by the Madison, Wis.-based Orbital Technologies group through a small business research program, with the only entire unit weighing in at around 15 pounds. According to NASA, researchers hope that future studies could help provide a less foreign and more comforting home for astronauts in space.

"Based upon anecdotal evidence, crews report that having plants around [from previous space studies] was very comforting and helped them feel less out of touch with Earth," said Gioia Massa, a project scientist at the Kennedy Space Center, via gizmag.com. "You could also think of plants as pets. The crew just likes to nurture them."

What do you think?

Want to learn more about 'Veggie'? Check out this video, courtesy of YouTube.

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