Cosmic flower: first blossom in space on board ISS (PHOTO)
The first ever flower has successfully blossomed on board the International Space Station, Sputnik reported.
A zinnia flower could be seen in full bloom aboard the International Space Station (ISS), NASA astronaut Scott Kelly said in his Twitter account on Saturday.
The orange zinnia flowers, which are not uncommon in the south-west of the United States, withered in the ISS in later December, as the space station's crew experimented with cultivating flowering and vegetable crops in outer space.
The experiments began a year ago, and on August 10, 2015, the ISS crew for the first time managed to grow and eat lettuce.
The vegetables were grown with the help of the Veggie system, which was installed in the ISS in May 2015.
The system is equipped with red, blue and green LED lights to stimulate the growth of plants in weightlessness and the absence of visible light.
Despite the fact that the zinnia plant is inedible, the ISS crew specifically chose these flowers in order to better understand the process of growing plants in space, according to Trent Smith, program manager at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
"Growing zinnia plants will help advance our knowledge of how plants flower in the Veggie growth system, and will enable fruiting plants like tomatoes to be grown and eaten in space using Veggie as the in-orbit garden," Smith said.