In a crucial development towards developing a self-sustaining system for living in space, NASA will begin growing vegetables on the International Space Station this December. Dubbed VEGGIE, the small rig, “filled with a material akin to kitty litter,” will grow six romaine lettuce plants, to be tested and eaten back on earth. Apparently, the biggest challenge will be testing for microbes that might taint the plants while in space.

As commenters at The Verge point out, we can only hope this paves the way for the growth of a different kind of cosmic vegetation.