This is a photo of the first flower grown in space. It’s a zinnia that’s blooming on the International Space Station.
Gioia Massa, NASA Kennedy Space Center and a payload scientist for Veggie in May, 2014 says, “The farther and longer humans go away from Earth, the greater the need to be able to grow plants for food, atmosphere recycling and psychological benefits. I think that plant systems will become important components of any long-duration exploration scenario.”
This is not the first time that a plant has been grown successfully on the ISS. Lettuce has been grown and eaten in the station before this, however, the orange zinnia is such a big deal because growing it was a far more complex task as compared to the lettuce. Variables such as sunlight become quite sensitive in such scenarios. Massa adds, “Growing a flowering crop is more challenging than growing a vegetative crop such as lettuce. Lighting and other environmental parameters are more critical.”
— Scott Kelly (@StationCDRKelly) January 16, 2016