Islamabad, 14 June, 2023 (GNP): NASA has achieved a significant breakthrough in space agriculture by successfully growing a zinnia flower aboard the International Space Station (ISS).
The zinnia flower, nurtured within the Veggie plant growth system on the ISS, was shared with the world in a captivating image taken by astronaut Scott Kelly.
The Veggie experiment, initiated by NASA astronaut Kjell Lindgren, aimed to explore how plants thrive in the unique conditions of space.
Zinnia seeds were deliberately chosen due to their challenging nature, offering scientists an opportunity to practice autonomous gardening techniques that may be crucial for future deep space missions.
— Scott Kelly (@StationCDRKelly) January 8, 2016
The journey of the zinnia flower began on November 16, 2015, when Lindgren activated the Veggie system, which included specially designed “rooting pillows” containing zinnia seeds.
However, during late December 2015, concerns arose as the plants appeared to be struggling. Kelly, the commander of Expedition 46, reported the situation to the ground team, highlighting the need to treat space crops with the same care as backyard plants.
Responding to this challenge, the Veggie team on Earth swiftly developed guidelines for nurturing zinnia plants in microgravity.
Kelly diligently followed these guidelines, and by January 2016, the zinnia flowers showed signs of recovery.
A photograph captured by Kelly showcases the zinnia flower in full bloom, with its delicate light-orange petals and intricate leaves extending towards the edges of the frame. NASA is advancing the possibilities for future long-duration space missions to destinations like Mars.