Antarctica is not the most likely place to find fresh ingredients for a salad. But German scientists have just collected — and eaten — their first batch of lettuce, cucumbers and radishes from a new greenhouse on the frozen continent. "It tasted as if we had harvested it fresh from the garden," Bernhard Gropp, the manager of the Neumayer Station III, a German research facility in Antarctica, said in a statement.
The shipping container-size greenhouse, called EDEN ISS, was installed in February about a quarter-mile (400 meters) from the research station, which is located on the Ekström Ice Shelf. The food-growing lab is providing welcome fresh veggies for Gropp and his other isolated colleagues during long missions in Antarctica. But EDEN ISS has a loftier mission; the facility is an experiment led by the German Aerospace Center (DLR) designed to test the best methods for cultivating crops for astronauts.
Space-grown plants could help sustain crews on long missions inside the International Space Station (ISS), or at farther destinations like the moon or Mars, where deliveries of fresh food would be less practical.
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