Space chilies are blooming marvellous

Over our heads, on the International Space Station, chili peppers are blooming and being hand-pollinated by astronauts. There are four pepper plants growing in the Advanced Plant Habitat (APH). NASA astronaut Megan McArthur posted pictures of them starting to flower.

Plant researchers at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center have been closely monitoring the peppers and using the APH’s internal fans to create a gentle breeze to assist in pollinating the peppers. 

Yesterday, Megan posted a video of her hand-pollinating the flowers, with some help from the team on the ground.

This experiment, Plant Habitat-04 (PH-04) is one of the longest and most challenging space plant experiments to date. NASA astronaut Shane Kimbrough initiated the experiment on July 12, and the peppers will grow for 120 days, with astronauts hoping to harvest green chiles in late October and red fruit in early November.

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