NASA initiated its venture into cultivating plants in space back in 2015 when astronaut Kjell Lindgren activated the Veggie system and introduced zinnia seeds in rooting “pillows.” Nearly eight years later, the US space agency released a photo of the flourishing zinnia plant from the International Space Station (ISS).
NASA has achieved a groundbreaking milestone by successfully growing the First-Ever Plant entirely in space, an image of which was unveiled on Tuesday. Read the full story.
This accomplishment is a significant step forward in understanding plant growth for long-duration space missions, including those aimed at Mars.
Accompanying the image, NASA explained, “This zinnia was grown in orbit as part of the veggie facility aboard the International Space Station. Scientists have been studying plants in space since the 1970s, but NASA astronaut Kjell Lindgren started this experiment on the ISS in 2015.” The agency emphasized that the space garden serves a more profound purpose than mere display.
NASA underscored the importance of understanding plant growth in space to enhance agricultural practices on Earth and provide a sustainable food source during long-duration missions to the Moon, Mars, and beyond.
The successful development of zinnias, alongside previous achievements in cultivating lettuce, tomatoes, and chilli peppers on the ISS, demonstrates NASA’s commitment to expanding the variety of plants grown in space.
According to NASA, the cultivation of zinnias offers valuable insights into the development of plants in microgravity and enables astronauts to engage in gardening during deep space missions autonomously.
The unveiled image sparked immense enthusiasm among science enthusiasts, as evident from the numerous comments expressing admiration and wonder. One user expressed their gratitude to NASA, saying, “Flowers and space coming together – two special things. Thank you, NASA.” Another user described the achievement as “unbelievable and beautiful.”