Early in the history of the U.S. space program, space ice cream caught the imagination of American youngsters. Now, NASA and other researchers are developing a different kind of space food—space-grown vegetables, whose little roots would never touch Earth. (And which could actually be tastier than those weird, dry ice cream blocks.)

Modern Farmer has a feature today covering ongoing research into growing edible plants in space. There’s a NASA effort to send romaine lettuce planters to the International Space Station, programs investigating crop production in Mars-like environments, and longer-term projects looking to grow soybeans and grains. Such space-farmed produce could save on the weight of the supplies astronauts need to bring with them; provide astronauts with a tastier and more nutritious diet; and even offer some psychological comfort. One of my favorite parts of the feature? The excerpts from American astronaut Don Pettit’s writings about a zucchini plant he brought to space not for food, but just for fun. Go check it out.

Modern Farmer