A beautiful photo showing the first flower grown in space (a zinnia flower) with our beautiful Earth in the background. Now retired NASA astronaut Scott Kelly shared p
Kelly wrote, “Yes, there are other life forms in space! #SpaceFlower #YearInSpace”.
This flowering crop experiment began on Nov. 16, 2015, when NASA astronaut Kjell Lindgren activated the Veggie system and its rooting “pillows” containing zinnia seeds. The challenging process of growing the zinnias provided an exceptional opportunity for scientists back on Earth to better understand how plants grow in microgravity, and for astronauts to practice doing what they’ll be tasked with on a deep space mission: autonomous gardening
The Veggie team on Earth created what was dubbed “The Zinnia Care Guide for the On-Orbit Gardener,” and gave basic guidelines for care while putting judgment capabilities into the hands of the astronaut who had the plants right in front of him. Rather than pages and pages of detailed procedures that most science operations follow, the care guide was a one-page, streamlined resource to support Kelly as an autonomous gardener. Soon, the flowers were on the rebound, and on January 12, pictures showed the first peeks of petals beginning to sprout on a few buds.
Zinnias are popular garden flowers because they come in a wide range of flower colors and shapes, and they can withstand hot summer temperatures and are easy to grow from seeds. Experimentation aboard the International Space Station has demonstrated the capability of zinnias to grow and blossom in a microgravity environment.