Growing one's own food has long been a goal of space exploration. It has the potential to reduce the amount of mass needed for long-term missions. Food has been experimentally grown and eaten on the Space Shuttle, International Space Station, and other programs.

One of the problems of long missions during the age of sail was scurvy, a deficiency of vitamin C. To this end, British ships carried limes for the sailors' diets. Have any plants which provide vitamin C (such as citrus fruit or tomatoes) been grown in space?



Yes; NASA selected bok choy, aka "Chinese cabbage", for one of their recent garden experiments, quite possibly because of its high vitamin c content (45mg, half of your daily recommended dose, per 100g).

The mission launched in 2014, and as far as I'm aware was a success but I haven't tracked down the specific paper recounting the experiment, if anyone's feeling keen to do a journal search.

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    $\begingroup$ Welcome to Space, and nice answer! If you later find the paper, please add the reference to this answer. Thanks! $\endgroup$ – DrSheldon Jul 22 '19 at 23:38
  • $\begingroup$ Compared to other potential sources of vitamin C, bok choy has the additional advantages of (1) fits in smaller spaces, (2) grows rapidly, (3) no flowering -- hence no pollen -- required, and (4) the whole plant is edible (no waste). $\endgroup$ – DrSheldon Jul 23 '19 at 14:22

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