In a major breakthrough, for the first time ever in space astronauts have harvested radish crop aboard the International Space Station (ISS). Taking to micro-blogging site Twitter, the ISS Research said that radishes are used for a study because they're nutritious, and grow quickly.
It tweeted, "Radishes grow fast, but maybe not this fast! Check out one month of ISS radish growth in 10 seconds. Radishes are used for the Plant Habitat-02 study because they're nutritious, grow quickly and are genetically similar to Arabidopsis, a plant often studied in space."
Radishes grow fast, but maybe not this fast! Check out one month of @Space_Station radish growth in 10 seconds.⏱️
Radishes are used for the Plant Habitat-02 study because they're nutritious, grow quickly and are genetically similar to Arabidopsis, a plant often studied in space. pic.twitter.com/f3c8urlCei
— ISS Research (@ISS_Research) December 1, 2020
On November 30, 2020, NASA astronaut Kate Rubins harvested radish plants growing in the Advanced Plant Habitat (APH) aboard the International Space Station. She meticulously collected and wrapped in foil each of the 20 radish plants, placing them in cold storage for the return trip to Earth in 2021 on SpaceX’s 22nd Commercial Resupply Services mission.
The plant experiment, called Plant Habitat-02 (PH-02), is the first time NASA has grown radishes on the orbiting laboratory. NASA selected radishes because they are well understood by scientists and reach maturity in just 27 days. These model plants are also nutritious and edible, and are genetically similar to Arabidopsis, a small flowering plant related to cabbage that researchers frequently study in microgravity.
“Radishes are a different kind of crop compared to leafy greens that astronauts previously grew on the space station, or dwarf wheat which was the first crop grown in the APH,” said Nicole Dufour, NASA APH program manager at Kennedy Space Center. “Growing a range of crops helps us determine which plants thrive in microgravity and offer the best variety and nutritional balance for astronauts on long-duration missions.”
The Biological and Physical Sciences (BPS) Division of NASA’s Science Mission Directorate at NASA Headquarters in Washington provides funding for Veggie, the APH, and related investigations.