July 18, 2024
These tomatoes had been misplaced on the Worldwide House Station for nearly a 12 months
These tomatoes had been misplaced on the Worldwide House Station for nearly a 12 months

In an interview this fall following his return to Earth from the Worldwide House Station, NASA astronaut Frank Rubio shared a little bit mission anecdote that had us gripped: after he’d harvested one of many first tomatoes grown in house and bagged it up for a presentation, the bag and its contents went lacking. With no hint of the fruit, the opposite astronauts jokingly accused Rubio of consuming it. Then, eight months later originally of December, the misplaced tomato reappeared. A photograph shared by NASA now reveals there have been truly two tomatoes within the rogue pattern — and, all issues thought-about, they don’t look half dangerous.

Whereas a tomato left to rot on Earth isn’t a pleasing factor to return throughout, Rubio’s tomatoes simply look a bit dried out. “Aside from some discoloration, it had no seen microbial or fungal progress,” NASA wrote in a weblog put up.

NASA has for years been experimenting with methods to develop meals on the ISS and finding out how the house atmosphere impacts plant progress. The pink dwarf tomatoes had been grown as a part of a program referred to as the eXposed Root On-Orbit Check System, or XROOTS, which makes use of a mix of hydroponic and aeroponic strategies as a substitute of soil. Rubio, who was on the ISS for a record-breaking 371 days earlier than his return in September 2023, harvested a batch of the tomatoes in March to be despatched again to Earth and examined for the VEG-05 research.

As for the pattern Rubio hung onto, which he supposed to point out to schoolkids in an occasion a crewmember had deliberate, the astronaut stated the tomatoes merely disappeared. “I used to be fairly assured that I Velcroed it the place I used to be alleged to Velcro it, after which I got here again and it was gone,” he stated. Rubio stated he spent “eight to twenty hours” in search of it, to no avail. They had been finally discovered behind the Earth-facing hatch of the ISS’s Concord module, a NASA spokesperson instructed Engadget.

Expedition 65 astronaut Megan McArthur inside the Harmony module on the ISS in 2021Expedition 65 astronaut Megan McArthur inside the Harmony module on the ISS in 2021

NASA

The Concord module, pictured above in 2021 with astronaut Megan McArthur inside, acts like a crossroads, port and “utility hub” on the orbiting station. Its hatch supplies entry to the pressurized mating adapter, the place spacecraft carrying cargo or crews, like SpaceX’s Dragon, dock to the ISS. The months-old tomatoes had been discarded after being found.

Replace, December 20 2023, 11:28AM ET: This story has been up to date to incorporate new data from NASA on the place the lacking tomatoes had been discovered.


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