Astronauts on the International Space Station are making history this week by eating fresh food grown in space.

The apparent success of Nasa’s plant-growing experiment, called Veg-01, means that the crew are now able to eat red romaine lettuce grown in microgravity.

The astronauts will eat half the crop, having cleaned it with sanitising wipes, and freeze the other half for analysis on Earth.

Nasa says the experiment will be the basis for learning how to grow and eat food long-duration exploration missions in the future.

The space agency also says the system, nicknamed ‘Veggie’, could "be used by astronauts for recreational gardening activities during deep space missions".

Dr Ray Wheeler, head of advanced life support activities at the Kennedy Space Centre, said:

Having fresh food like these available in space could have a positive impact on people's moods and also could provide some protection against radiation in space.

Dr Gioia Massa, Nasa payload scientist, added:

The farther and longer humans go away from Earth, the greater the need to be able to grow plants for food, atmosphere recycling and psychological benefits.

I think that plant systems will become important components of any long-duration exploration scenario.

To find out more, watch the video below:

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