GOOD

Astronauts Chow Down on the First Veggies Grown in Space

That’s one small salad for man. One giant lettuce for mankind.

Astronauts aboard the International Space Station can add one more title to their already impressive resumes: space farmer. Today, the astronauts will chow down on freshly harvested red romaine lettuce, the first edible crop grown in space’s microgravity environment.


The leafy greens serve a few purposes up there in the great beyond. First, they’re part of an ongoing experiment to determine what sorts of plant life can be grown in open space. Growing food in space will only become more important as astronauts from NASA and other space agencies plan for longer and longer trips—to the moon, to Mars, and into the far reaches of the universe.

Space agencies could use this technology in the future to grow vegetables on spacecraft—or even on other planets.

Scientists say that galactic gardening has psychological benefits, too. As NASA scientist Alexandra Whitmire points out in a blog post, "Future spaceflight missions could involve four to six crew members living in a confined space for an extended period of time, with limited communication.” That’s a lot of isolating me-time, exacerbated by the stress of living in an extreme and sometimes dangerous environment. Gardening is the perfect space hobby: “Having something green and growing—a little piece of Earth—to take care of…could have tremendous value and impact,” NASA explains. (Reminder: There is no Netflix in space). Just look at the positively gleeful Steve Swanson, NASA astronaut and flight engineer, as he tends to his little space garden:

The space romaine is also useful for the same reason your mother said: veggies are good for you. NASA scientists speculate that fresh foods rich in antioxidants—tomatoes, blueberries, red lettuce—could help protect astronauts against radiation in space. While the International Space Station’s intrepid explorers receive some Earth-fresh goodies in every supply ship, there’s only room for so many, and they have to be eaten quickly. Now there’s some leafy green to fill in the veggie gaps.

Sprouting next in the International Space Station garden: flowers. They’re fun to grow, pretty to look at—and scientists are wondering how they’ll pollinate in zero gravity.

Articles
Screenshot via Sweden.se/Twitter (left) Wikimedia Commons (right)

Greta Thunberg has been dubbed the "Joan of Arc of climate change" for good reason. The 16-year-old activist embodies the courage and conviction of the unlikely underdog heroine, as well as the seemingly innate ability to lead a movement.

Thunberg has dedicated her young life to waking up the world to the climate crisis we face and cutting the crap that gets in the way of fixing it. Her speeches are a unique blend of calm rationality and no-holds-barred bluntness. She speaks truth to power, dispassionately and unflinchingly, and it is glorious.

Keep Reading Show less
The Planet
Ottawa Humane Society / Flickr

The Trump Administration won't be remembered for being kind to animals.

In 2018, it launched a new effort to reinstate cruel hunting practices in Alaska that had been outlawed under Obama. Hunters will be able to shoot hibernating bear cubs, murder wolf and coyote cubs while in their dens, and use dogs to hunt black bears.

Efforts to end animal cruelty by the USDA have been curtailed as well. In 2016, under the Obama Administration, the USDA issued 4,944 animal welfare citations, in two years the numbers dropped to just 1,716.

Keep Reading Show less
Science

The disappearance of 40-year-old mortgage broker William Earl Moldt remained a mystery for 22 years because the technology used to find him hadn't been developed yet.

Moldt was reported missing on November 8, 1997. He had left a nightclub around 11 p.m. where he had been drinking. He wasn't known as a heavy drinker and witnesses at the bar said he didn't seem intoxicated when he left.

Keep Reading Show less
Communities
via Real Time with Bill Maher / YouTube and The Late Late Show with James Corden / YouTube

A controversial editorial on America's obesity epidemic and healthcare by comedian Bill Maher on his HBO show "Real Time" inspired a thoughtful, and funny, response by James Cordon. It also made for a great debate about healthcare that Americans are avoiding.

At the end of the September 6th episode of "Real Time, " Maher turned to the camera for his usual editorial and discussed how obesity is a huge part of the healthcare debate that no one is having.

"At Next Thursday's debate, one of the candidates has to say, 'The problem with our healthcare system is Americans eat shit and too much of it.' All the candidates will mention their health plans but no one will bring up the key factor: the citizens don't lift a finger to help," Maher said sternly.

Keep Reading Show less
Politics
via Gage Skidmore

The common stereotypes about liberals and conservatives are that liberals are bleeding hearts and conservatives are cold-hearted.

It makes sense, conservatives want limited government and to cut social programs that help the more vulnerable members of society. Whereas liberals don't mind paying a few more dollars in taxes to help the unfortunate.

A recent study out of Belgium scientifically supports the notion that people who scored lower on emotional ability tests tend to have right-wing and racist views.

Keep Reading Show less
Politics