Knowledge Center Blog

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On This Day...Space Flowers!

Throughout 2018, we will be sharing some interesting things that happened “On this day…” that related in some way or another to agriculture.  First up – a picture of a flower, specifically a zinnia.  What makes this flower unique you ask?  Well…it was grown in space.
Photo credit:  NASA

Yes, you read that right.  On January 16, 2016, Expedition 46 Commander Scott Kelly shared a picture of a zinnia bloom…that was grown on the International Space Station!  The flower, which began to bloom on January 12, was grown in the Veggie plant growth system.  This system provided scientists an opportunity to study plants in microgravity, and was an opportunity for astronauts to practice growing their own food in space.  Growing and caring for these flowers helped scientists on Earth develop a basic guideline for caring for plants in space, while allowing the astronauts who were actually caring for the plants to make judgement calls about their care.  (want to read more about this Zinnia picture?  Check out the whole article here.)
The Veggie system has also grown other salad type crops for astronauts on the International Space Station.  (You can read more about that here.)  Have an aspiring astronaut at home who isn’t big on veggies?  Maybe if you tell him or her they are grown in space that will help!
On a separate note, on this day in 1919, prohibition was ratified and became law…but flowers and veggies in space are much more interesting!
Tuesday, January 16, 2018
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