Japanese Artist Sends Flowers into Stratosphere

makoto azuma flowers

Makoto Azuma wanted to witness the movement of a plant sent into the stratosphere, so he did just that. The Tokyo-based artist launched the project Exobiotanica, and last July, two botanical objects were sent to an altitude of almost 100,000 meters from Nevada’s Black Rock Desert.

white pine bonsai

With his 10-person team and Sacramento-based JP Aerospace, Azuma launched one Japanese white pine bonsai and one arrangement created from flowers from around the world.

According to the New York Times, Azuma built the arrangement by adding stems to an aerial plant that was tied to an axis. The arrangement included peace lilies, hydrangeas, orchids, a heliconia flower, and more.

arranging flowers

Of the arrangement, Azuma says he wanted to “[use] brightly colored flowers from around the world [to] contrast against the darkness of space.”

The bonsai tree was selected from his own personal collection.

The bonsai and its vessel traveled up to 91,800 feet before the helium balloon carrying it burst. The arrangement reached 87,000 feet. Both vessels were found about five miles from the launch site, but the bonsai and flowers were not.

You can view the bonsai and arrangement at different altitudes on the project’s nifty website, as well as watch their documentary video.

flower project

bonsai tree at sunrise