Atlas Obscura is organizing trips! Join us on an adventure »
Today Only: 50% off Atlas Obscura books and calendars at Barnes & Noble »

Fleeting Wonders: Watch Astronauts Taste Space Lettuce For The First Time

Astronaut Scott Kelly tends to a crop of space lettuce. (Photo: NASA Johnson/Public Domain)

For several years, NASA has been trying to grow veggies in space, in order to nourish astronauts’ bodies and souls. Today, crew members on the International Space Station will enjoy the fruits of this labor for the first time. 

The fruits are actually veggies: specifically, red romaine lettuce, chosen for its hardiness and its radiation-canceling antioxidants. Astronaut Scott Kelly planted this batch in early July, and it’s been growing ever since, watered carefully by the crew and fed by a combination of LED lights and exhaled carbon dioxide. Previous crops have been sent back to Earth for safety testing, but today, for the first time, the astronauts will swipe the leaves with “food sanitizing wipes” and chow down.

The salad-bration will take place at 11:15 Eastern Time and will be broadcast live on NASA TV

Before and after, you can watch cosmonauts Gennady Padalka and Mikhail Kornienko improve handrails, fix antennae, clean windows, and take photographs around the Russian segment of the International Space Station. 

Every day, we track down a fleeting wonder—something amazing that’s only happening right now. Have a tip for us? Tell us about it! Send your temporary miracles to cara@atlasobscura.com.