Space Zinnias Rebound from Space Blight on Space Station

Space Zinnias growing inside the International Space Station's Veggie facility are on the rebound! Credit: NASA/Scott Kelly/@StationCDRKelly

Zinnia plants growing aboard the International Space Station (ISS) have staged a dramatic New Year’s comeback from a potential near death experience over the Christmas holidays, when traces of mold were discovered.And it’s all thanks to the experienced green thumb of Space Station Commander Scott Kelly, channeling his “inner Mark Watney!” After suffering from a serious case of space blight on the space station, the ‘Space Zinnia’s’ growing inside the orbiting outposts Veggie facility are now on the comeback trail from space bound trials and tribulations.“Some of my space flowers are on the rebound!” tweeted Kelly, in an ISS Weekend Update to space enthusiasts and horticulturalists worldwide.“No longer looking sad!”Earlier this year, the ISS crew had already proven they could successfully grow, cultivate and eat space grown romaine lettuce they gleefully harvested from Veggie – as reported here.Kelly, along with newly arrived British astronaut Tim Peake, had started growing the Zinnia flowers in December in the Veggie experimental facility as part of the Veg-01 investigation. Veggie is comprised of “pillows” holding the Zinnia flower seedlings that provide nutrients to the root system inside an experimental low-cost growth chamber that provides lighting for the plants.The purpose is to grow plants in the growth chamber in space and comparing their progress to plants grown on Earth as “ground truth” counterparts. At first the space station Zinnias made great progress, sprouting healthily into larger plants with bigger leaves than those growing on Earth.“These plants appear larger than their ground-based counterparts and scientists expect buds to form on the larger plants soon,” researchers reported in mid-December 2015.But over the Christmas holidays, Kelly discovered the mold infestation snapped the photo below of the dire looking Zinnia plants.“Our plants aren’t looking too good. Would be a problem on Mars,” tweeted Kelly.“I’m going —> Read More