This orange flower symbolizes a notable moment in human history—it is the very first flower to bloom in space. The images were recently tweeted by astronaut Scott Kelly from aboard the International Space Station, as the successful result of experimentation with plant growth in zero gravity. Kelly, along with Russian astronaut Mikhail Korniyenko, are aboard the station as part of a year-long mission to study the effects of long-term stay in space. Their mission overlapped with a project known as Veggie, initiated by NASA’s previous resident Kjell Lindgren who had begun experimenting with plant growth.

Previously, ISS astronauts have harvested romaine lettuce, however flowering crops such as zinnias are much more challenging to grow.  These bright orange flowers were sprouted from pods composed of fertilizer, seeds, water, and clay, under a system of LED lights. The project hopes to continue producing nutritious fresh food for the crew, while also providing morale-boosting plants that may help to enhance the isolating environment the astronauts have to live in.  NASA hopes to make use of similar growth techniques to eventually produce tomatoes in space, bringing us one exciting step closer to agriculture in space.

via [The Daily Dot]

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