Astronauts Successful Growing First Flower in SpaceCristina Cantor (Author) Published Date : Jan 20, 2016 00:43 IST
Scott Kelly the NASA astronaut can now also brag about being an astronaut with a green thumb. He earned the right by growing the first ever flower successfully in space after the rest of the International Space Station crew planted zinnia plants that nearly died.
The ISS astronauts started the growing process for the zinnas late in 2015, but only a few weeks later, the crew saw high humidity symptoms in the plants with limited air flow.
The plant s seed containers or wicks, leaked water and the plant s leaves began to bend unnaturally. At Christmas, things reached their worst point when the plants started to grow mold.
After that, Kelly took control of the zinnias, telling NASA he would decide the best time to water them instead of using a schedule.
He told NASA that if people ever traveled to Mars it would be them making the decision when to water their plants. On December 27, he tweeted photos of the rather ugly looking plants. While not all the plants survived, he was able to successfully nurture at least one and it eventually flowered.
The dead plants and molds were collected by the crews and will be studied by a NASA team on the ground, so they can better understand how different it is growing plants in outer space compared to back home on Earth.
Zinnias were chosen by NASA for this part of their project because its growth duration is longer than those of romaine lettuces, which makes them a natural stepping stone to growing tomatoes.
The crew grew veggies as well aboard the space station a while ago. That too suffered some setbacks with the first batch dying from drought, but eventually the astronauts managed to grow and harvest a batch and even ate some produce.
However, a tomato grown and then eaten in space could take some time, as NASA is not planning to send tomato seeds to the astronauts in the ISS until sometime in 2018.
Astronauts Successful Growing First Flower in Space