Chinese astronauts harvest lettuce and tomatoes grown in space

Humanity is very close to an orbital BLT.

Space sandwiches

In a very exciting twist for future space restaurants, humanity is far from an ingredient or new orbital BLTs.

as Space.com reportsAstronauts of China’s Shenzhou 16 mission – they were safe Return to earth last eveningAfter several months in space – China National Space Administration’s (CNSA) Tiangong space station showed off freshly harvested lettuce and tomatoes.

Ber Space.com, the team replanted lettuce in June, successfully harvesting four batches in total. Cherry tomatoes, in addition to delicious green onions, are planted later in August.

Like NASA’s efforts, China’s work to grow extraterrestrial crops is an important part of the country’s ambition to one day send its astronauts on multi-year deep space missions. Any truly long-duration space mission cannot import all of its food from Earth.

„This vegetable cultivation apparatus is an important part of the entire environmental control and life support system, and it is used in space to verify related technologies,” said Yang Renze, a researcher at the China Aerospace Research and Training Center. told a China-run broadcaster China Central Television This weekend, as quoted Space.com. „In the future, we will focus on rapid and large-scale cultivation.”

To the moon and beyond

Food is an essential part Environmental control and life support systems (ECLSS) Rense notes that these are essentially safe, livable, and stable environments that allow astronauts to live healthily in space for long periods of time.

Indeed, as Yang said The hiddenHaving plants on a spacecraft supports the ECLSS of Tiangong Station in more ways than one.

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„A key part of ECLSS is that 'plants grown from the cultivation apparatus can absorb carbon dioxide from the air to produce oxygen through photosynthesis, and then regenerate and purify water,'” Yang told state media.

Ber Space.com, to measure how well space crops grow compared to their terrestrial counterparts, the China Space Research and Training Center actually has a replica of Tiangong’s horticultural system. They also grow the same plants that astronauts do in space, providing a controlled environment to analyze any differences in orbital harvests.

Building these systems is essential for China to eventually achieve not only deep space missions, but also the establishment of surface bases on the Moon and — ultimately — its goals. Astronauts’ shoes on Mars.

„This system can be used in the field of deep space exploration,” Yang continued, „including our crewed missions to the Moon and Mars.”

And China’s spaceflight ambitions: China has announced plans to build a lunar base using lunar soil

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