The crop was chosen after evaluating several leafy vegetables on a number of criteria, such as how well they grow and their nutritional value.
The top four candidates were sent to Johnson Space Center’s Space Food Systems team, where they brought in volunteer tasters to sample the choices. The Tokyo Bekana turned out to be the most highly rated in all the taste categories.
“Peggy is doing an amazing job and she wouldn’t give up and she was able to get the seed in pillow D to germinate,” said Veggie Project Manager Nicole Dufour.
Later this year, a second Veggie system will be sent up to be seated to the current one. It will provide side by side comparisons for future plant experiments and help growing bigger space garden.
“I love gardening on Earth, and it is just as fun in space” Whitson tweeted in early February. “I just need more room to plant more!”
The space station crew will also get to eat some of the Chinese cabbage and the rest will be saved for scientific study back at Kennedy Space Center. This is the fifth crop grown aboard the station, and the first Chinese cabbage.
(With inputs from NASA)