Thursday, January 21, 2016

Space Station Welcomes Orange Zinnias

Plants

Zinnias In Space: These zinnias, common to the southwest United States and which are edible, are the first plants grown entirely from seed to maturity in space. Scott Kelly, station commander of the International Space Station (ISS), tweeted this photo to Twitter on January 16th. The plants were grown in the space station’s Veggie Facility, which was not an easy task. When Kelly arrived on the ISS on December 18th, the plants were partially dead. Yet, Kelly was able to “nurse” two of the four zinnias back to health. CBC News writes: “The whole space gardening enterprise is designed to help scientists study how plants react to being grown off Earth, and to prepare astronauts for a future trip to Mars. The prospect of a Mars trip was one reason Kelly felt justified in taking over the plants’ care (and why he made a reference to The Martians Mark Watney). ‘You know, I think if we're going to Mars, and we were growing stuff, we would be responsible for deciding when the stuff needed water,’ he said to the ground team, according to NASA. ‘Kind of like in my backyard, I look at it and say “Oh, maybe I should water the grass today.” I think this is how this should be handled.’ ”
Photo Credit: Scott Kelly; Jan 16th via Twitter
Source: NASA