NASA astronaut Megan McArthur smiles while a taco floats beside her.
  • Astronauts grew chilli peppers on the International Space Station for the first time.
  • One NASA astronaut then used them to make tacos for the crew.
  • NASA says growing food in space has big advantages for endeavours like trying to visit Mars.
  • For more stories go to www.BusinessInsider.co.za.

Astronauts on the International Space Station grew chilli peppers for the first time, which a NASA astronaut used for tacos to feed the crew.

The seeds were brought to the ISS in June, part of NASA experiment to see what foods can be grown in space. The experiment was to help establish possible food sources for long missions, potentially to Mars.

The first peppers were harvested on Friday, NASA said.

NASA astronauts pose with the peppers on the International Space Station on Friday.

NASA astronaut Megan McArthur tweeted on Friday that the crew tasted the peppers, and that she used them in tacos along with fajita beef and vegetables.

She called them her "best space tacos yet."

NASA said in July that the peppers would grow for about four months as part of its Plant Habitat-04 investigation. It said the process was "the first time NASA astronauts will cultivate a crop of chilli peppers on the station from seeds to maturity."

NASA said that the crew would eat the peppers if they seemed good, and also save some to bring back to Earth for study.

McArthur said in her tweet that the astronauts had to fill in surveys after tasting the peppers.

NASA said that growing food in space has logistical benefits over bringing packaged food from Earth, and that tending space crops could have psychological benefits for the crew.

It noted that trips far away from Earth, including to Mars, "may last for months or even years and have limited opportunities for resupply missions.

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