London: NASA has developed a vegetable production system termed as `Veggie plant pillows` that could soon give astronauts on the International Space Station (ISS) their first taste of space-grown salad.
Dr Gioia Massa, a payload specialist at the Kennedy Space Centre, Florida said that if one could get the environmental conditions correct, there would be no reason why plants would not grow pretty well in space, the Guardian reported.
A portable greenhouse was recently taken to the International Space Station to grow lettuces during the space agency`s supply mission.
Professor Ian Crawford, Birkbeck, University of London, who is an advocate of manned exploration of space, asserted that the ability to grow food in space would become increasingly imperative in the context of future long-duration space missions, and especially in the context of future human settlements on the moon and Mars.
Three plant pillows that will be planted in succession were taken up to the ISS, where two held seeds for a variety of red romaine lettuce called Outredgeous and the third contained the flowering plant zinnia, to add a splash of colour to the space station.
The astronauts will apparently freeze the lettuces and send them back to Earth for analysis in August.