December 1, 2021

I, Science

The science magazine of Imperial College

This week's image, taken from the International Space Station, is of a flower blossoming in space.

orange space flower  with earth in background

The International Space Station’s Expedition Commander Scott Kelly’s excited tweet, “Yes, there are other life forms in space!” proudly accompanied a photo of the very first flower grown in space. A vivid orange zinnia flower has blossomed aboard the Space Station’s veggie facility – the first Earth flower that has grown entirely from seed in space.

The flower was grown as part of their VEG-01 investigation, a project aiming to help us understand how plants can grow in microgravity. Astronauts are trained in gardening – a crucial skill for future deep space missions, such as excursions to Mars. It isn’t the first time plants were grown in space, as they’ve previously grown lettuce – but it is the first flower. This bodes well for the future of cultivating edible flowering plants like tomatoes. We might even be lucky enough to one day see tweets from Scott Kelly of the very first space salad!

Eva Spielvogel is studying for an MSc in Science Media Production

Image: Scott Kelly