Scott Kelly is no Mark Watney, the potato-growing botanist in The Martian. On Sunday, the NASA astronaut, who is spending a year on the International Space Station, tweeted a photo of the latest crop of plants from the station's space garden, saying, "Our plants aren't looking too good. Would be a problem on Mars. I'm going to have to channel my inner Mark Watney."
The plants are part of a NASA experiment designated Veg-01, an effort by NASA to make its astronauts more independent of Earth by developing the technology that will eventually allow them to grow food in space. The plants are being grown in a special "veggie facility" with a calcined clay media. The initial test crops were primarily species of lettuce.
Astronauts had their first harvest of lettuce in August from romaine seeds that had been on the station for 15 months before being planted. After cleaning their crop with sanitizing wipes, astronauts Scott Kelly and Kjell Lindgren dressed them with balsamic vinegar and extra virgin olive oil before sampling the lettuce. The space farmers declared their crop to be "awesome" and tasting "kind of like arugula."