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NASA‬ astronaut Scott Kelley releases images of first ever flower grown in space

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KATHMANDU — NASA‬ astronaut Scott Kelley on Saturday released pictures of the first ever flower grown in space.

He tweeted picture of a splendid yellow shaded bloom which resembles sunflower. The blossom is from the plant zinnia that is a local Southwestern United States.

The plant growth facility was installed in the orbiting laboratory in 2014. The flower was chosen by scientists to understand the growth of plants in microgravity.

“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, ” said, Trent Smith, Veggie project manager at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

Smith also said that zinnia flower has a growth duration between 60 and 80 days. It is also sensitive to environmental parameters and light characteristics compared to other plants.

“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,” Smith added.

Scott Joseph Kelly is an American astronaut, engineer and a retired U.S. Navy Captain.

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Maldives opposition legislator Ibrahim Mohamed Solih wins presidency

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MALE — Maldives opposition legislator Ibrahim Mohamed Solih has beaten incumbent Abdulla Yameen according to provisional results, the country’s Elections Commission says.

Results released by the Elections Commission showed Mr Solih securing 133,808 votes (58.3 percent) compared to the 95,526 for incumbent Abdulla Yameen. The voter turnout was over 88 per cent out of the 262,000-strong electorate.

The Maldives government has acknowledged the opposition’s victory after the vote on Sunday, a surprise defeat for President Abdulla Yameen who was widely expected to win.

There were no other candidates.

Mr Solih had the backing of a united opposition trying to oust Mr Yameen, but struggled for visibility with the electorate, with local media fearful of falling afoul of heavy-handed decrees and reporting restrictions.

“I call on Yameen to respect the will of the people and bring about a peaceful, smooth transfer of power,” Solih said on television, shortly after interim results from the country’s election commission.

“We have won this election with a comfortable majority,” Solih said.

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