A flower blooms – in space This image made available by NASA via Twitter posted on Jan. 17, 2016 by space station commander Scott Kelly, shows a zinnia flower out in the sun at the International Space Station. (Scott Kelly/NASA via AP/Thinkstock)
A flower blooms – in space
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The International Space Station now has a bright pop of orange, thanks to commander Scott Kelly's green thumb.
 
Kelly showed off his gardening results, a thriving zinnia with a beautiful orange-yellow bloom. He posted photos of the flower on his Twitter account.
 
"Yes, there are other life forms in space!" Kelly said in a tweet in mid-January.
 
In December, Kelly had to fight off mold that threatened to kill all the flowers in the space station's mini-greenhouse. Mission Control gave him free rein. He managed to save some of the crop. This type of autonomous gardening will be necessary during Mars expeditions, Kelly noted.
 
In a nod to last year's blockbuster movie "The Martian," Kelly said, "I'm going to have to channel my inner Mark Watney." Watney is the fictitious astronaut-botanist who ends up stranded alone on Mars. He grows potatoes in order to survive.
 
The space station's plant-growing experiment saw a bumper crop of red romaine lettuce last summer. The space station crew got to sample a few leaves.
 
While this is the first zinnia known to bloom in space, it's not the first space flower.
 
In 2012, space station astronaut Donald Pettit memorably coaxed blooms out of a zucchini plant. He blogged about his informal experiment in "Diary of a Space Zucchini." He also nurtured Space Sunflower and Space Broccoli.
 
The Russians hold claim to the first flower in space. It was aboard the Soviet Salyut space stations of the 1970s and 1980s.
 
These new space zinnias aren't just for looks. NASA said they're a good precursor to tomato plants, targeted to launch in 2018. The next hothouse crop, coming up soon on a SpaceX supply flight, will be Chinese cabbage and more lettuce.
 
NASA's little greenhouse is known as Veggie, short for Vegetable Production System. It was flown to the space station in 2014.

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CRITICAL THINKING QUESTION
Why are scientists experimenting with plant life in space?
Write your answers in the comments section below


COMMENTS (115)
  • dantaew-pay
    1/27/2016 - 10:52 a.m.

    Space for the most part is barren, theres no life thats been found so far which means no food. If there arent animals to eat in space then plants are the next best thing, because they are easy to take care of and can give nutrients.

  • ashleyf-orr
    1/27/2016 - 12:54 p.m.

    Space for most parts is barren. there no life that has been found so far which means no real food. tTheres no connection of wifi.

  • montanaw-war
    1/27/2016 - 12:57 p.m.

    I think that its really interesting that they are able to grow things in space, because I didn't know before I read this that they did. I read the book "The Martian" and I thought that growing plants in was made up by the author so to know that plants have been grown makes the book a little more interesting.



































  • mirandaw-war
    1/27/2016 - 12:58 p.m.

    I read the book The Martian by Andy Weir, so this article caught my eye.I think that it is an amazing thing to know that plants are able to be grown in space and it gives hope to what we can do in the future, in space. It was also interesting to know that things were being grown in space in the 70s and 80s.

  • ameerw-orr
    1/27/2016 - 12:59 p.m.

    I think that they are playing god with plants because they want to have new life forms in space. Other then experimenting on animals we are still trying to find life forms in space. A plant is still considered a life form...so now we have a life form in space.

  • marial-orr
    1/27/2016 - 01:05 p.m.

    In 2012 space station astronaut Donald pretty memorably coaxed blooms out of a zucchini plant .

  • ashleyf-orr
    1/27/2016 - 01:05 p.m.

    Space for the most part is barren. There's no life that has been found so far which means no real food and no connection and wifi.

  • jenniferb-orr
    1/27/2016 - 01:06 p.m.

    To begin with, scientists experimenting with plant life in space because there no life that has been found in space which in other words there no food. And seen people eat plants they are try to make food in space and seen plants are really good for you and easy to take care.

  • miap-orr
    1/27/2016 - 01:37 p.m.

    People should try to plant more flowers so they see the differences and and similarities between the flowers grown from space and the flower grown from earth.

  • mariao-orr
    1/27/2016 - 01:52 p.m.

    They should plant more flowers in space so life can grow in space like earth.

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