The First Flower Has Bloomed In Outer Space, and It’s Beautiful

Scott Kelly on Twitter SpaceFlower out in the sun for the first time YearInSpace https Cghu9XGv1J

There’s a flower garden on the International Space Station. Oh, it’s meant for scientific research. But the newborn results are pretty!

The project examines how different plants grow in microgravity. This orange zinnia that just bloomed is a challenge to grow in space. The experience of cultivating it will help scientists learn how to grow more challenging–and edible–plants in microgravity. UPI reports:

“The zinnia plant is very different from lettuce,” Veggie project manager Trent Smith said. “It is more sensitive to environmental parameters and light characteristics. It has a longer growth duration between 60 and 80 days. Thus, it is a more difficult plant to grow, and allowing it to flower, along with the longer growth duration, makes it a good precursor to a tomato plant.”

-via Scott Kelly


This zinnia bloom was grown entirely in space by astronaut Scott Kelly.

Other plants like lettuce have been grown on the ISS, but researchers are working on more complex foods.

At one point, water began to seep out of the leaves rather than be absorbed by them, and it appeared the experiment was failing.

A few buds died of dehydration over the holidays and others flourished soon after.


This is the flower getting its first dose of direct sunlight.