In a partnership between NASA and the University of Wisconsin, seed potatoes were first tested in space in 1995 aboard the Space Shuttle Columbia. Then, in 2004, NASA started using a Chinese technique to make the ultimate chamber-grown spud. It was dubbed Quantum Tubers™ and is possibly the most badass potato on the planet.

Creating these “Quantum Tubers” involved “combining an agricultural technique from China with controlled environment technologies originally developed by the University of Wisconsin-Madison for plant growth in space,” NASA says. According to a press release, American Ag-Tec International, Ltd., from Delavan, WI, then produced the tubers.

Astronauts aboard the Space Shuttle Columbia tested the seed potato production in its Astro-culture plant growth facility. “American Ag-Tec International’s development of Quantum Tubers resulted from a NASA-sponsored Commercial Space Center located at the University of Wisconsin-Madison,” says NASA.

While speaking about this milestone, Duane Maatz, Wisconsin Potato & Vegetable Growers Association Executive Director, said that it “really puts Wisconsin on the map and shows the technological advances that have and continue to come out of our state.” Space centers like this have allowed other companies to create products from space-based research.


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