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Space Gardening: Flowers and lettuce grow in orbit. The idea arises from the need for astronauts to survive best during long missions in space; In addition, the psychological benefit that industry operators can derive from such orbiting cultivation is also very important. The first experiment, successful and documented through truly impressive images, was completed at the International Space Station, ISS, thinking of a possible future landing on Mars.Mars 360

Space Gardening: Flowers and lettuce grow in orbit.

Scott Kelley, a NASA astronaut, will be one of the shots that will remain forever in the history and imagination of 2016; It is a Zinnia, a magnificent orange flower immortalized in the darkness of space.

The experiment, which was named Veggie, has succeeded in perfection and the astronauts of the International Space Station have managed to grow, besides the flower, also some lettuce plants that have consumed directly in space, finally being able to, Eating a cool food. As noted by Alexandra Whitmire, a scientist for Behavioral Health and Performance, a project that is part of the NASA’s “Human Research Program”: “Plants can improve long missions in isolated, confined and extreme environments, artificial and devastated environments of nature. Although not all crew members are involved in plant care, many people have this option is useful”. Whitmire also argues that the Veggie experiment will be able to produce important information for a future Mars mission. Astronauts are engaged in ever-longer missions, during which, in the absence of external stimuli, it becomes increasingly important from a psychological point of view to maintain contact with nature and to be able to consume fresh foods.

The first success of the experiment, namely the flowering of Zinnia in space, came after several attempts, as did the first lettuce harvest; The first attempt, failed due to drought, prompted scientists to rework irrigation systems and success was no longer awaited. For the Veggie experiment, Zinnia flowers have been chosen because they have the right features to help scientists understand how flowering plants can grow under microgravity. In fact, the zinnia plant, very different from that of lettuce, is quite difficult to cultivate, very sensitive to various environmental parameters and light conditions; It is a species that needs about 70 days to grow, and this has caused many difficulties to be overcome before flower blossoms, such as mold formation and excessive moisture. Despite these problems, the team was able to create the one that was then called “Zinnia Care Guide for Orbital Gardener”, a guide that contains all the information needed to care for the plant and that was used Successfully by Kelley during his mission. This is a real revolution in the gardening world as well as in the future of space missions.

Space Gardening: Flowers and lettuce grow in orbit.

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Space Gardening: Flowers and lettuce grow in orbit.