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Astronauts Grow Flower in Space for First Time


Crewmembers aboard the International Space Station were excited to share that they have grown a flower in space for the first time ever.

According to CNN, the ISS had been attempting to grow flowers and edible plants from space for more than a year and a half. Scott Kelly, a NASA astronaut taking part in the "Year in Space" mission, shared a photo of the zinnia flower on his Twitter account.

"While the plants haven't grown perfectly," Gioia Massa, NASA science team lead for Veggie, said in a blog post. "I think we have gained a lot from this, and we are learning both more about plants and fluids and also how better to operate between ground and station. Regardless of final flowering outcome we will have gained a lot."

The ISS crewmembers first tried to grow plants from space in May 2014 when they planted red romaine lettuce. Veggie project manager Trent Smith said in NASA's post the ISS "lost two plants due to drought stress in the first grow out and thus were very vigilant with respect to the second crop."

They were successful on their second try, and the ISS crewmembers were eating eat the red romaine lettuce that summer.

"The zinnia plant is very different from lettuce," 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."

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