A variety of crops have been successfully harvested on board the International Space Station and verified as safe to eat.
“The experiments with peas have been very promising,” Margarita Levinskikh, a researcher at the Institute of Biomedical Problems told an annual space conference in Moscow. Russian cosmonauts have also grown Japanese leafy greens and a variety of dwarf wheat.
Levinskikh said that next year Russian cosmonauts will sow rice, tomatoes and bell peppers after repairing the station’s Lada greenhouse, a cooperative effort between the institute and the Space Dynamics Laboratory at Utah State University.
Space-based agriculture has long been of interest to scientists, as plants not only scrub carbon dioxide exhaled by astronauts, but could be used to recycle human waste into food.
Currently all food onboard the International Space Station is flown up on periodic resupply missions.