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Cherry Tree Shows We Still Have More To Learn

Cherry Tree from space

I have to admit, when I hear scientists don't know the reason for something, my ears perk up. Not that I'm looking for them to fail. It's that we tend to think of scientists as know-it-alls and that there isn't anything left to explore.

Now I'm not talking about the kid who did research to learn where it might be more painful to get stung by a bee. But should any conversation arise about a guy who got stung on his junk, I will say that I've read that the nostril is more painful because that's just what I do. Seriously, ask my friends - I'm sorta known for that.

No, this one is about the fact that scientists for whatever reason thought it would be cool to send up a bunch of Japanese cherry pits into space, then bring them back down and plant them. I've been reading a bunch of the reports and can't seem to figure out why they thought this was a bright idea, other than I'm sure it drew extra attention to the cherry blossom festival that happens in the spring in Japan.

This whole hullabaloo stems from the stones that were sent to the International Space Station in November 2008, circled the globe 4,100 times and came back to Earth in July 2009 with Japanese astronaut Koichi Wakata. I guess they were later planted, making them now four years old and blooming. That's the crazy part, blooming so soon. Usually it takes like ten years before this variety of cherry tree blooms.

What’s more, each of the nine blossoms that suddenly sprouted on April 1 (yes, I initially thought it was an April Fools’ joke too, but apparently not) has only five petals, while the usual flowers from this tree have 30.

So what happened, you ask? Didn’t you read? They have no idea! And to me, that might be the coolest part of it all. Personally, I feel that there’s something magical about not having all the answers to the universe, that some things should be left a mystery. If we knew it all, then there would be no amazing miracles left!


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