Photo credit: NASA/Scott Kelly
By Sarah Lewin
Zinnias have opened their pretty petals for the first time on the International Space Station, and NASA astronaut Scott Kelly couldn’t be prouder.
The zinnias, grown as part of the Veggie program, have had a rough path: They battled excessive water, overdrying and even enterprising mold before beginning to recover in early January.
To better balance conditions for the zinnias, NASA named Kelly an autonomous gardener (or “commander” of Veggie) on Christmas Eve, so he could independently decide when the plants needed to be watered or tended to instead of waiting for directives from Earth. It looks like that hard work has paid off, with new photos of the zinnia’s first vivid orangey-yellow bloom.
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