A NASA astronaut has just tweeted a photo of the first flower grown in space, and scientists are hailing it as a significant breakthrough in studying the feasibility of life in space.
Scott Kelly tweeted the photo of an orange Zinnia flower from space on Saturday.
"Yes, there are other life forms in space!" Kelly tweeted the photo of plant, which is a native in the southwestern United States.
Zinnias are edible blooming plants that are usually easy to grow.
The blooming of the flower marks the successful end of an experiment astronauts were conducting on how plants grow in micro-gravity.
The flower was grown inside the Veggie lab aboard International Space Station (ISS) which was installed in early May 2014.
"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," Trent Smith, Veggie project manager at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida stated in a press release.
A Daily Mail report said the flowers appear very similar to those grown on earth, except for the curled edges of the petals, which could be due to zero-gravity conditions.
But the NASA team hasn't grown only the flower. According to a Times of India report, the astronauts have also grown lettuce in space after some unsuccessful attempts initially.
This is how it looks:
Growing the tomato plants will be a crucial stage for NASA and its aims of traveling to Mars, as such long missions will most likely require astronauts to produce food without contact with Earth, the Daily Mail report said.
Feature image source: Twitter