NASA astronaut and flight engineer of the 64th expedition, Kate Rubins, harvested the first radish crop on ISS in the Plant Habitat-02 experiment, which aims to optimize plant growth in a unique space environment and assess nutrition and taste.
Plant Habitat-02 uses a special chamber for growing Advanced Plant Habitat, which grew radish, a plant that is nutritious and edible and has a short growing time. Kate Rubins collected and foiled each of the 20 radish plants, placing them in cold storage for return to Earth in 2021 as part of the 22nd SpaceX commercial mission. At home, the collected radish will be studied by all parameters to find possible changes in the fruit when grown in orbit.
“A radish is a different crop from leafy greenery that astronauts used to grow on a space station, or dwarf wheat, which was the first crop grown in orbit. Growing different crops helps us determine which plants develop best in microgravity and offer astronauts the best variety and balance of nutrition on long flights,” said Nicole Dufour, NASA’s Program Manager at the Kennedy Space Center.