NASA breakthrough: Astronauts grow lettuce on the space station – 'So excited for harvest'

In the unlikely event supplies run out or are contaminated, astronauts will have no other access to food.

Being able to grow crops in space will eliminate to a certain extent the ISS’s reliance on ground support.

Growing crops in space will also help extend the duration of NASA’s missions on the Moon and Mars.

The Moon, in particular, is the focus of NASA’s 2020 Artemis programme.

By the end of 2028, NASA hopes to establish a permanent and “sustainable” human presence on the Moon.