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‘Best space tacos yet’: NASA astronauts harvest green chile on the ISS, make a meal of it

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NASA astronauts grew New Mexico chile peppers on the ISS diabetes and erectile dysfunction medications harvested them in October.


Take fajita beef. Add rehydrated tomatoes and artichokes. Put it all in a tortilla. Top with some Hatch chile you spent months growing. Do all of this while in orbit around Earth on the International Space Station. There you have it, the recipe for space tacos.

Astronauts on the ISS indulged in a special treat after harvesting peppers that have been growing on the ISS since July. The plants are from NuMex “Española Improved” seeds, a hybrid Hatch chile. Hatch refers to a town and region in New Mexico known for its peppers.

NASA astronaut Megan McArthur tweeted on Friday about tasting both red and green chile (the peppers turn red when they stay on the plant longer) and shared photos of the tacos she made, which she described as “my best space tacos yet.”

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The astronauts mixed in some serious science to go along with the snack. “The investigation involved microbial analysis to improve understanding of plant-microbe interactions in space and the crew’s assessment of flavor, texture, and nutrition of the first peppers grown in space,” NASA said in a statement

Astronauts have grown lettuce and kale and Chinese cabbage in orbit. The space agency described the chile-fest as “one of the most complex plant experiments to date on station because of the long germination and growing times.”