Boldly Growing Where No Flower Has Grown Before ISS Astronaut Scott Kelly takes to Twitter to showcase the first flower grown in space.

By Nina Zipkin

entrepreneur daily
Scott Kelly | Twitter

It seemed like spring aboard the International Space Station this weekend when NASA Astronaut Scott Kelly shared a photo of a cheerful orange zinnia, the first flower grown in space.

Kelly has been documenting his year in space, taking to social media to share stunning images of life on the ISS, including his foray into space botany. In October, Kelly broke the American record for most time living in space at 383 days.

This isn't the first gardening success to occur on the ISS and the space station's Veggie Plant Growth System. Back in August, the astronauts grew and sampled the first vegetables grown in space -- "Outredgeous" red romaine lettuce, to be exact -- cultivated in an effort to figure out how we could one day grow vegetables and deal with challenges such as drought, flooding and mold on Mars.

Related: For the First Time Ever, NASA Astronauts Eat Vegetables Grown in Space

The zinnia was selected as the next project for the Veggie system so the scientists could get an understanding of how microgravity affects plants as they flower and grow. The flowers became Kelly's responsibility after astronaut Kjell Lindgren returned home.

In a release from NASA, Veggie project manager Trent Smith explained the flower is "more sensitive to environmental parameters and light characteristics. It has a longer growth duration between 60 and 80 days. Thus, it is a more difficult plant to grow, and allowing it to flower, along with the longer growth duration, makes it a good precursor to a tomato plant."

Early on, the flowers seemed like they were in trouble, with issues of humidity and mold growth plaguing the plant's progress. Around Christmas, Kelly started tending to the plants as he saw fit, with guidelines from ground crew, and things started to turn around. Thanks to what they've learned from the thriving flowers, the ISS astronauts could soon be enjoying home-grown tomatoes.

Related: Do You Have the Right Stuff? NASA Is Looking for Astronaut Candidates.

Nina Zipkin

Entrepreneur Staff

Staff Writer. Covers leadership, media, technology and culture.

Nina Zipkin is a staff writer at Entrepreneur.com. She frequently covers leadership, media, tech, startups, culture and workplace trends.

Want to be an Entrepreneur Leadership Network contributor? Apply now to join.

Editor's Pick

Related Topics

Growing a Business

5 AI Hacks You Need to Know About in 2024

Despite its vast potential, the key to leveraging AI effectively lies in balancing automation with human oversight to avoid pitfalls and ensure that creativity and decision-making remain human-driven.

Business News

Former Pediatrics Professor Donates $1 Billion, Makes Albert Einstein College of Medicine Tuition-Free

Dr. Ruth Gottesman's husband left her $1 billion in Berkshire Hathaway stock with the following instructions: "Do whatever you think is right with it."

Starting a Business

Long-Lost Sisters Who Built the Largest Black-Owned Wine Company in the U.S. Reveal How to Break Into a Notoriously Tough Industry

Andréa and Robin McBride followed their shared love of wine into business — but it hasn't always been easy.

Business News

'Next Tesla' Electric Car Startups Hit Speed Bump: 'Investors Want To See Demand'

Electric vehicle companies large and small, from Ford to Tesla to Rivian, are dealing with cooler-than-expected demand for EVs.