Japan is famous for having beautiful cherry blossoms but have you heard of space cherry blossoms?
In November 2008, cherry blossom seeds from 14 places in Japan were collected to be brought aboard the ISS (International Space Station) with the Japanese astronaut Mr. Koichi Wakata as part of an educational program for children to have the opportunity to harvest their own cherry blossom seeds and to have them see how the cherry blossoms grew upon returning from the International Space Station. After orbiting the Earth 4100 times, the cherry blossoms and Mr. Wakata came back to Earth in July 2009.
Upon returning to Earth, some of the cherry blossom seeds were sent to laboratories to be researched while most of the seeds were sent back to the places they were taken from and planted.
The space Seigan Cherry Blossoms planted at Ganjoji Temple grew up to 4 meters in April 2014 and 9 flowers bloomed abruptly. While the certain type of flowers that bloomed usually have 30 petals per flower, only 5 petals appeared on the flowers that came back from the International Space Station.
It usually takes ten years for these cherry blossoms to bloom after being planted but the ones that were brought to space and planted at Ganjoji Temple along with three other locations bloomed 6 years early. The program advisors had expected the cherry blossoms to bloom in time as the children who harvested the seeds reached twenty years of age. Nobody knows exactly why the cherry blossoms bloomed early but it seems possible that their little trip to outer space may have something to do with the phenomenon.
From Kochi prefecture, the Hyotan Cherry Blossom was taken up to the International Space Station and Kochi has become well known for being an amazing spot to take collaboration photos of the stars and Hyotan Cherry Blossoms.
Why not visit these amazing cherry blossoms that traveled to space? You might be able to take one of the most amazing photos of the stars and the flowers.