NASA grew the first ever space flower, and it's absolutely beautiful

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Astronaut Scott Kelly Debuts Image of First Flower Grown in Space

The International Space Station just got a little bit more colorful.

U.S. astronaut Scott Kelly, who is currently completing a full year aboard the orbiting laboratory, gave the first flower ever grown in space it's Instagram debut on Saturday -- and here we were thinking our gardening skills were good.

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According to NASA, the space flower is an orange zinnia, selected because it's a harder plant to grow than lettuce -- which has already been successfully grown and eaten in space.

NASA's astronauts originally had difficulty growing the plants, even documenting a case of mold and over-drying on Twitter around Christmastime. But eventually, the small crop pulled through, producing beautiful, brightly colored alien blooms.

This marks the first time that a flowering crop has been grown on the ISS, which will hopefully provide useful information about other flowering plants that could be grown in space.

"The zinnia plant is very different from lettuce," Trent Smith, project manager of the ISS's "Veggie" plant growth facility, told the Nasa blog.

"It is more sensitive to environmental parameters and light characteristics. It has a longer growth duration between 60 and 80 days. Thus, it is a more difficult plant to grow, and allowing it to flower, along with the longer growth duration, makes it a good precursor to a tomato plant."

NASA is growing the flowers and lettuce to learn how to garden in space with the hope of eventually being able to do so on Mars.

We were under the impression that Matt Damon had already mastered the whole 'crops in space' thing...

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