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SpaceX launches tomato seeds to supply the International Space Station

SpaceX is delivering new supplies to the International Space Station this weekend after bad weather at the launch site forced the cancellation of the first attempt.

The mission took off from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida at approximately 2:20 p.m. ET Saturday. The original liftoff day was Tuesday.

Supplies on board include a pair of new solar arrays for the space station, dwarf tomato seeds, and various scientific experiments. Space station astronaut treats include ice cream and Thanksgiving treats like spicy green beans, cranberry apple dessert, pumpkin pie and candy corn.

The solar array will be installed outside the floating laboratory during spacewalks scheduled for November 29th and December 3rd. These power the space station.

SpaceX has launched more than 20 space station resupply missions over the past decade as part of a multi-billion dollar contract with NASA.The launch comes in SpaceX’s busiest year yet, with more than 50 operations so far, two of which are astronaut Mission.

Shipboard cargo includes many health-related items such as: moon microscope kitPortable handheld microscopes allow astronauts to collect images of blood samples and send them to flight surgeons on the ground for diagnosis and treatment.

tomato in space

Nutrients are the key to staying healthy in space. But compared to the prepackaged meals an astronaut eats during his six-month stay, fresh food supplies are scarce on the space station. low earth orbit.

“It is very important for NASA’s exploration goals to be able to consider not only nutrients, but also different types of plants as sources of nutrients. Kirt Costello, principal scientist and deputy manager of the ISS Research Integration Office, said:

Astronauts have grown and tasted many different types of lettuce, radishes and chili on the International Space Station. Now, crew members can add miniature tomatoes (specifically Red Robin tomatoes) to the list of ingredients for space-grown salads.

This experiment is part of efforts to continuously produce fresh food in space.

Dwarf tomato seeds are grown under two different light treatments to determine the impact on the plant’s nutritional value and taste, as well as the number of tomatoes that can be harvested. As a control experiment, red robin tomatoes are also grown on earth. Two crops are compared to measure the effect of the weightless environment on tomato growth.

Space tomatoes are grown in small sacks called plant pillows installed in the space station’s vegetable production system called the Vegetable Growth Chamber.Astronauts frequently water and nurture plants.

Gioia Massa, NASA Space Crop Scientist and Principal Investigator of the Tomato Research, said:

Tomatoes will be ready for the first taste test in the spring.

The crew expects tomatoes to be harvested 90, 97 and 104 days after the plants begin to grow. In the taste test, crews evaluate the flavor, aroma, juiciness and texture of tomatoes grown using different light treatments. Half of each harvested tomato is frozen and returned to earth for analysis.

Growing plants on the space station not only provides an opportunity for fresh produce, creative taco nightit can also boost the mood of the crew during their long spaceflights.

The study tracks moods of astronauts as they tend to and interact with plants, and how growing saplings enhances the crew’s experience in space station isolation. Make sure.

https://www.mercurynews.com/2022/11/26/spacex-launches-tomato-seeds-other-supplies-to-international-space-station-after-weather-delay/ SpaceX launches tomato seeds to supply the International Space Station

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