ESPAÑOLA, N.M. (KRQE) – The NASA scientist responsible for sending New Mexico chile to space, is now challenging you to grow a chile pepper in a controlled environment.

With the first New Mexico chile pepper expected to launch into space in September, Jacob Torres, one of the NASA researchers behind the project is now challenging others to grow a chile pepper inside their homes.

“I thought it’s really exciting to be a New Mexican that gets to experience this wonderful thing that is going on at NASA, but everybody at home should be able to experience it too,” said Torres.

Torres started the “Space Chile Grow a Pepper Plant Challenge” on Facebook. Teaming up with other New Mexicans, Torres is sending chile seeds all over the world. Those seeds come from Chimayo chile farmer, Fidel Martinez.

Last summer, we told you about Espanola chile being sent to the International Space Station, now Torres is sending the seeds all over the world. Hundreds of people are growing their own Martinez Chimayo Chile plant.

Torres says while it may seem like a fun project for the family, it’s actually contributing to science. “I’m recording data in the background because every one of these is a trial that I can record in my research,” said Torres.

He says sending the seeds globally is changing the way people think about chile. “Somebody in Canada somewhere is having green chile with their breakfast this morning because they’re participating in the Space Chile Challenge,” said Torres.

The challenge will end in February of 2021. It’s free to participate.

New Mexico Coronavirus Resources