Diary of a Space Zuccini

Sounds like a literary SF novel, doesn't it?  In fact, it's an actual blog by space station astronaut Don Pettit, who returned to earth this month.  It's life on the space station as told by a zuccini plant that is growing on the station as an experiment on aeroponics to see how microgravity affects plant growth.

Zuc blogs about what's going on in his life and the life of the astronauts who are studying him.  Sometimes, things are a little silly
Great news; I have a baby brother sprout! Gardener just showed me baby Zuc. He is strong and healthy and ready to move from the sprouter into his own aeroponic bag. While Broccoli and Sunflower are great companions, there is nothing quite like having a zucchini to zucchini conversation.
 Other times, however, zuc talks about the experiments going on in the station, both on himself and in other fields.
Sunflower has brown patch.  His leaves are covered with dry, dark blotches.  He is not happy.  Gardener says it looks like a fungus.  I am afraid that if something is not done we are going to lose Sunflower.  The crew medical kit is designed for animals not plants so there are no medications for this disease.  Gardener is treating Sunflower with a disinfectant wipe that has an antibacterial agent called BZK (Benzalkonium chloride).  We do not know if this is going to work.  Our spacecraft is designed for animals so life can be a struggle for plants.  On the frontier, the answers are not found in the back of the book and sometimes you have to venture into the unknown and improvise.
 Sometimes, Zuc talks about current events.  he's a bit of a Renaissance plant, as you'll see:

We released Dragon today. The treasures he brought were traded for some of our goods and then he went on his way. I like this concept; Dragon brings us things we can use in exchange for things we have made on orbit. The things we make on orbit are samples from our scientific experiments. They have great value to the Big Gardener on Earth. Explorers use to bring back silk and spices. Now we bring back scientific samples, crystals, blood, and urine. Within these goods lay spoils more valuable that plundered gold for they are the key to advancing our knowledge. Sometimes we give Dragon broken spacecraft parts that he will repair and bring back on his next visit. Before we closed the hatch, we placed a picture of our crew on the bulkhead. Dragon seemed anxious to go. I guess when a Dragon visits, they do not stay long.
Sometimes, the astronauts add to the blog as well, so you get human and plant perspective.  It's a fun way to keep up on activities in the ISS.  I recommend it for some light but interesting reading.

I happened across this doing research for another blog, and I'm glad I did.

  • Digg
  • StumbleUpon
  • Reddit
  • RSS


Post a Comment