NASA astronaut Reid Wiseman took photographs on Oct. 20 of the dumpling peppers growing at the end of the experimental terrarium at the bottom of the ISS’s Expeditions 58/59 suite. Here is his account of the experience.
In September I picked three dumpling peppers from a planter box on the floor of the US Destiny laboratory on the ISS and threw two into the container as a practice run. The first trip about 260 meters (948 feet) up into the air is a little bumpy – each one of them, after all, is really quite tiny. But some weeks later, I felt it was time to test the microgravity environment by dropping them from farther than I would normally.
After I connected the more than a dozen plants to the 60cm (2-foot) wide indoor terrarium, there were no problems attaching the plant balls to the chambers of the container. The airtight cylinder above, which resembles a high-definition camera roll with false teeth on top, is called a “Constantinople,” or Kremlin, [sic]. Even though there are no moving parts inside the cylinder and no exposed fixtures, in space it can act like a mini-pressure chamber: taking all the force exerted by the pressurized air above it and, magically, releasing pressure on the plants growing below.