(I feel their pain!)
An unexpected passenger aboard the International Space Station is sick and could die.
"I am afraid that if something is not done we are going to lose Sunflower," US astronaut Don Pettit wrote on May 5. "Our spacecraft is designed for animals so life can be a struggle for plants."
The sunflower in question, which Pettit has been trying to grow in the
ISS, is afflicted with a fungal blight that has spotted its leaves. This
ailment has afflicted other sunflowers grown in space: In 1982 in
preparation for a space experiment called HEFLEX (see below), space
sunflowers suffered a similar blight. Back then NASA adopted
sterilization techniques, and the fungus did not reappear when the
experiment flew in 1983.