NEW MEXICO (KRQE) – The plan to grow New Mexico’s signature crop in space is now underway. Last month, the Space-X Falcon 9 rocket carried chile seeds to the International Space Station as part of a NASA experiment studying plant growth. The hybrid pepper was developed at New Mexico State University, combining varieties from Hatch and Espanola.

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On Monday, astronaut Shane Kimbrough added water to those seeds. “This research will help expand NASA’s space cookbook, helping keep astronauts healthy and their senses satisfied as we venture to the moon and Mars,” Kimbrough said.

Astronauts have been growing and eating crops at the space station since 2015. NASA says Peppers are a good candidate because they are robust and easy to grow, and contain a number of key ingredients.