Fragile Oasis

Connecting Space and Earth: Learn. Act. Make a Difference.
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From the Diary of a Space Zucchini: My Aching Roots

March 7 I am making a second set of flowers. They are all male flowers, full of fragrance for my crewmates to enjoy. I see Gardener smile. March 8 Oh my aching roots! I am sick; my flower buds have wilted into little brown nubbins. My leaves have a fringe of brown that gets wider every day. The edges are ...Keep Reading

Personal Reality

In space I see things that are not there. Flashes in my eyes, like luminous dancing fairies, give a subtle display of light that is easy to overlook when I’m consumed by normal tasks. But in the dark confines of my sleep station, with the droopy eyelids of pending sleep, I see the flashing fairies. As I drift off, I ...Keep Reading

A Poem for Saturday: I Wonder Why

I wonder why the sky is up, and why the stars abound? Click for the big picture And why the Sun comes up each morn, and why the Earth goes ’round? I wonder what the Sun on Mars, would bring at dusk and dawn? I wonder what two moons would say, from Earth lit sky when Sun is gone I ...Keep Reading

An Invitation to Participate in the International Space Apps Challenge

Yuri Gagarin was 27 years old when he left the protective atmosphere of Earth, and then returned 108 minutes later with the perspective nearly all of us privileged to follow him would come to understand: “Orbiting Earth in the spaceship, I saw how beautiful our planet is. People, let us preserve and increase this beauty, not destroy it!” Fifty years ...Keep Reading

From the Diary of a Space Zucchini: Crewmates for Astro-Z

February 20 We have two new crewmates, Sunflower and Broccoli. Sunflower has a long stem for the size of his leaves. He is standing tall. Broccoli is small and weak. His sprout is so small that without the normal gravitational signals, surface tension forces keep his cotyledons from breaking free from the damp pigmat medium. Effectively, his first two leaves ...Keep Reading

Astro-Z in Zero-G: The Diary of A Space Zucchini - A Rose

January 18 I am about 15 centimeters high now but still only have four leaves. I am vibrant green and happy. My roots still drink this sour tea but it seems to have everything I need. I am reluctant to ask my crewmate where this comes from. January 19 I found out what the tea is made from. Apparently we ...Keep Reading

Astro-Z The Prequel: Growing Plants in Zero-G

Editor's note: This was originally posted 5 May 2003 during Don's first six month mission to the International Space Station, where he served as Science Officer. Growing plants in the weightless environment of an orbiting spacecraft is much harder than meets the eye. Having a supply of tomato and basil seeds I tried my hand at growing them with results ...Keep Reading

Astro-Z in Zero-G: The Diary of a Space Zucchini - Part 1

@Astro_Pettit takes care of me. He is a gardener in space.— AstroZ in ZeroG (@Astro_Zuc) April 3, 2012 January 5, 2012 I sprouted, thrust into this world without anyone consulting me. I am not one of the beautiful; I am not one that by any other name instills flutters in the human heart. I am the kind that makes little ...Keep Reading

LAUNCHing Ideas for a Waste-less Tomorrow

As a participant of the first LAUNCH forum, LAUNCH: Water, and someone who recently returned from six months experiencing the orbital perspective of our planet from 240 miles above the Earth, I invite innovators from around the world to participate in LAUNCH: Beyond Waste. LAUNCH, a social entrepreneurship forum, is in its third year of existence,and is taking public/private partnerships ...Keep Reading

Space Is My Mistress

Space is my Mistress, and she beckons my return. Since our departure I think of you and yearn to fly across the heavens arm in arm. I marvel at your figure, defined by the edges of continents. You gaze at me with turquoise eyes, perhaps mistaken for ocean atolls. You tease me to fall into your bosom, sculptured by tectonic ...Keep Reading