Illustration for article titled The First Flower Grown in Space is an Edible Orange Zinnia

The first flowers to ever grow in space are blooming on the International Space Station today. Despite fears of over-watering, the crew coaxed the zinnias into a burst of colour in their zero-g vegetable garden.


Correction: This wasn’t the first flower to bloom in space, but it’s still gorgeous.

Zinnias are edible blooming plants that are usually on the easy ends in the spectrum to grow. They’re the second plant to be tested in the space station’s hydroponic VEGGIE lab. Astronauts taste-tested their previous crop, lettuce, last last year. Zinnias are most commonly eaten in salads, but also made a tasty accent to tacos.


So, gardeners: How does this flower look different than your terrestrial blooms?

Update: Proving they’re not nearly as resilient as Audrey II, the flowers almost didn’t make it! Here’s the story behind how terrestrial botanists almost killed the space flowers, until valiant astronauts took control to get them back on track.

Image credit: NASA/Scott Kelly

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