Friday 30 September 2016

Forget life on Mars... astronaut nurses flower to full bloom on space station

Published 19/01/2016 | 17:11

A zinnia flower on the International Space Station (Scott Kelly/Nasa via AP)
A zinnia flower on the International Space Station (Scott Kelly/Nasa via AP)

The International Space Station is home to a new life form: a thriving zinnia with a beautiful orange-yellow bloom.

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Space station commander Scott Kelly showed off his gardening results, posting photos of the flower on his Twitter account.

Last month, he had to fight off mould that threatened to kill all the flowers in the space station's mini-greenhouse but he managed to save some of the crop. He said this type of autonomous gardening will be necessary during Mars expeditions.

The plant-growing experiment previously saw a crop of red romaine lettuce. The space station crew got to sample a few leaves.

The zinnias are not just for looks: Nasa said they are a good precursor to tomato plants.

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