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VEG-04: the Effects of Light Quality on Mizuna Mustard Growth, Nutritional Composition, and Organoleptic Acceptability for a Space DietSpace crop production will be important in future long duration exploration missions to supplement the packaged diet with fresh bioactive nutrients. Plant care and the addition of fresh veggies to the diet may also have a role in astronaut well-being. Pick-and-eat salad crops are the best candidates for this near-term supplementation since they require minimal processing or preparation to add to meals. While light quality can strongly influence plant responses on Earth, the impacts of light quality on plant growth and composition in spaceflight remain unclear. The VEG-04 experiment uses two Veggie plant growth chambers on the International Space Station to simultaneously test different red: blue light ratios on the growth of Mizuna mustard, a leafy green salad crop. In addition to plant health and yield, the composition of key nutrients is assessed. Astronauts conduct on-board organoleptic evaluation of the fresh produce. Microbial food safety of returned produce is examined, and a Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP) plan has been developed for this crop. VEG-04 consists of two experiments, one lasting 28 days with a single harvest, and the second lasting 56 days, with three cut-and-come-again harvests. These different scenarios provide an opportunity to test two production concepts, examine different fertilizers, monitor microbial changes over time for this crop, and assess potential impacts of interacting with plants on crew behavioral health and performance in spaceflight operations. In ground testing, plant growth was not significantly different across the different light treatments, however nutrient composition did differ significantly. Flight test results will be compared with ground data. This research was co-funded by NASA's Human Research Program and Space Biology in the ILSRA 2015 NRA call.
Document ID
Acquisition Source
Kennedy Space Center
Document Type
Massa, Gioia D.
(NASA Kennedy Space Center Cocoa Beach, FL, United States)
Bunchek, Jess M.
(Southeastern Universities Research Association Washington, DC, United States)
Douglas, Grace L.
(NASA Johnson Space Center Houston, TX, United States)
Hummerick, Mary P.
(AECOM Management Services Germantown, MD, United States)
Mitchell, Cary A.
(Purdue Univ. West Lafayette, IN, United States)
Morrow, Robert C.
(Orbital Technologies Corp. Huntsville, AL, United States)
Morsi, Asmaa H.
(Purdue Univ. West Lafayette, IN, United States)
Roma, Peter G.
(Wyle Laboratories, Inc. Houston, TX, United States)
Romeyn, Matthew W.
(NASA Kennedy Space Center Cocoa Beach, FL, United States)
Spencer, LaShelle E.
(AECOM Management Services Germantown, MD, United States)
Wheeler, Raymond M.
(NASA Kennedy Space Center Cocoa Beach, FL, United States)
Date Acquired
November 25, 2019
Publication Date
November 20, 2019
Subject Category
Life Sciences (General)
Report/Patent Number
Meeting Information
Meeting: Annual Meeting of the American Society for Gravitational and Space Research
Location: Denver, CO
Country: United States
Start Date: November 20, 2019
End Date: November 23, 2019
Sponsors: American Society for Gravitational and Space Research (ASGSR)
Funding Number(s)
Distribution Limits
Public Use Permitted.
Technical Review
NASA Technical Management
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