Space Farmer Scott Kelly Harvests First ‘Space Zinnias’ Grown Aboard Space Station

NASA astronaut Scott Kelly harvested his space grown Zinnia's on Valentine's Day, Feb. 14, 2016 aboard the International Space Station.  Credit: NASA/Scott Kelly/@StationCDRKelly

KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, FL – Nearing the final days of his history making one-year-long sojourn in orbit, space farming NASA astronaut Scott Kelly harvested the first ever ‘Space Zinnias’ grown aboard the International Space Station (ISS) on a most appropriate day – Valentine’s Day, Sunday, Feb. 14, 2016.After enduring an unexpected series of trial and tribulations – including a fearsome attack of ‘space mold’ – Kelly summoned his inner ‘Mark Watney’ and brought the Zinnia’s to life, blossoming in full color and drenched in natural sunlight. See photo above. He spent weeks lovingly nursing the near dead plants back to health and proudly displayed the fruits of his blooming labor through the windows of the domed Cupola, jutting out from the orbiting outpost and dramatically back dropped by the blue waters of Earth and the blackness of space. “Nursed the #SpaceFlowers all the way to today and now all that remains are memories,” tweeted NASA astronaut and Expedition 46 Commander Scott Kelly on Feb 14, 2016. “Happy #Valentines Day!”The zinnias are thus contributing invaluable experience to scientists and astronauts learning how to grow plants and food in microgravity during future deep space human expeditions planned for NASA’s “Journey to Mars” initiative.The experimental Space Zinnias are truly an important part of NASA’s ongoing crop research activities and are being grown in the stations Veggie plant growth facility.But it wasn’t always looking so rosy for the zinnias. Just before Christmas, Kelly found that these same Zinnias were suffering from a serious case of space blight when he discovered traces of mold on the flowers growing inside Veggie – as reported here.Kelly asked to be given decision making power and was assigned as an “autonomous gardener,” Gioia Massa, NASA Kennedy payload scientist for Veggie, explained to Universe —> Read More