As mold threatened zinnia flowers in the space station Veggie experiment, investigators decided to take a bold move: allow an astronaut to take care of the flowers without always calling for help from home first. The result? Flowers are now blooming in space, marking a successful result after several other plants died due to infection.
NEWS: Zinnia Flower Blooms on Space Station
"We're pleased with the Veggie team for coming out with the procedure, and Scott knocked it out in lickety-split," said Veggie project manager Trent Smith in an interview with Discovery News.
It signals NASA's careful moves towards preparing astronauts for long-term voyages far from home. And the astronaut who volunteered to help was a fitting symbol of this goal: Scott Kelly, who is spending nearly a year on the International Space Station to see how his body and mind reacts to a long period in space.
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Kelly was exuberant in pictures tweeted from the International Space Station. "Yes, there are other life forms in space!" he wrote in one message. "First ever flower grown in space makes its debut," he said in another.