"I sprouted, thrust into this world without anyone consulting me," writes a young zucchini named Rose, apparently unaware that she in fact knows no earthy home. "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 boys gag at the dinner table thus being sent to bed without their dessert."
Clearly, NASA's most self-aware vegetable astronaut is in the throws of an existential crisis as she takes root aboard the International Space Station high overhead, far from her soil-bound counterparts -- but lucky for us, she's started a blog.In order to test how plants cope with life in near zero gravity, scientists aboard the ISS have grown a zucchini in a ziplock bag, absent of soil, to test how it would fair with oxygen and water alone, as part of an experiment in aeroponics. Such experiments have been done before in the past, but thanks to ghostwriter astronaut Don Pettit, now Rose the space zucchini, has a voice.
"I became aware of my fellow crewmates for the first time. It takes a sprout a few days before grasping your surroundings. One is my gardener who waters my roots every day. I overheard that we are in a spacecraft orbiting Earth and are part of a long space mission. As crew, I am not sure of my role but am ready to contribute what I can."
Rose had been blogging with some regularity since her first post on NASA's website earlier this year, but evidently life in space for a young plant isn't always easy -- especially on space-time.
"I am becoming confused. These 16 short periods of day and night every 24 hours are making me jet-lagged. My photosynthesis activity just gets going and then abruptly shuts down. Repeating this cycle is putting me into a dither. My leaves do not sing as loud."
As of late February, Rose the zucchini has been joined by two others, broccoli and sunflower plants, though her thoughts on them aren't always the rosiest:
"Sunflower is becoming a slackard. He is lazy. His stem is now about 40 centimeters long but is so thin and spindly that on Earth he would not be able to stand," blogs Rose.
Her thoughts on broccoli, dated March 5, aren't too positive either.
"Broccoli survived the surface tension forces and the mold. He is now 10 centimeters tall and has deep rich green leaves. He must like drinking the compost tea. I still find it sour and not to my liking. My gardener also likes to put his nose close to Broccoli. I am not jealous, he has told me that I am still his favorite."
Inexplicably, the blog posts end there. But let's hope Rose's salad days haven't
Zucchini can you read me? Come in zucchini...