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First Lady Michelle Obama Plants Space-Age Seeds Prepared by NASA/Jacobs at White House

Space-age plant seeds prepared by Jacobs and NASA research scientists at the Kennedy Space Center (KSC) were planted in the White House garden by First Lady Michelle Obama earlier this year.

The seedlings were from the same lot of cabbage seeds for the Veg-03 plant experiment—the third crop of plants to be grown in the station's Vegetable Production System (Veggie)—bound for the International Space Station (ISS) aboard the SpaceX-8, which launched in April from the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. The seeds are a variety of Chinese cabbage called Tokyo Bekana.

Jacobs’ Test and Operations Support Contract (TOSC) team played a key role in processing the Veggie experiments at KSC. Members of the ISS Utilization Processing team in the Space Station Processing Facility provided science labs for testing, lab equipment, and growth chambers for verification testing. They also coordinated with the principle investigators for pre-flight and post-flight processing requirements and ground control testing in the ISS environmental simulator growth chambers.

The Veggie experiment aims to provide the crew with fresh food and help boost morale. Experiments like Veggie have psychological benefits, since gardening can be a relaxing and social activity that can help unify the crew. Gardening can also help crew members feel connected to Earth, something they will miss on long duration missions.

Michelle Obama planted batches of the Chinese cabbage seeds, as well as red romaine lettuce (a previous space station crop) in the White House garden. The First Lady was joined by a group of students from across the country, as well as Gioia Massa, the science team lead for the Veg-03 experiment; NASA astronaut Cady Coleman; and NASA Associate Administrator Dava Newman.

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