Scientists have done plant research on space peppers

In the most hair-raising part of the space station, astronauts are known to jabbing away at shriveled lettuce and disgusting ice cream when the mercury has dropped. But on Sunday, they got another treat: peppers.

A SpaceX Dragon capsule, orbiting 250 miles above the planet, docked with the International Space Station and held a box containing five peppers, a container of salsa and containers of trail mix and granola.

It was the first time the International Space Station has had pepper for crew members to enjoy on the outside. Astronauts can microwave food to heat it up in microgravity, but the dipiness is off-putting.

In fact, the gateway to space is labeled as “ground.” It’s an advisory for the crew to consider whether space food is too off-putting or is just not yummy enough. Sometimes it’s the matter of the texture of something, either too hard or mushy.

There’s the science, too.

Peppers are getting a look on the space station. By September 2020, NASA expects to conduct nutrition experiments in hopes of better understanding how the capsaicin in chili peppers affects the human immune system. Study results could have implications for astronauts as they endure long journeys to Mars, missions that could last up to two weeks.

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