SpaceX just sent a new and unprecedented cargo to the International Space Station this weekend. The payload included numerous science experiments, dwarf tomato seeds, new solar panels and a set of goodies to boost the morale of the troops, most of whom are celebrating Thanksgiving.
SpaceX just sent a new shipment of supplies to the International Space Station this week-end. The mission lifted off from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida on Saturday. The original take-off date was Tuesday.
The payload included new solar panels for the space station, dwarf tomato seeds and a range science experiments. There were also treats for astronauts on the space station, ice cream and Thanksgiving dishes, spicy green beansof the cranberry dessertsa pumpkin pie and candy corn. Last year, SpaceX sent a cargo of ants and avocados to the ISS.
A Thanksgiving shipment and dozens of science experiments
The solar panels will be installed outside the floating laboratory during the spacewalks scheduled for November 29 and December 3. The shipment also includes a number of health-related items, such as the Moon Microscope Kit. The portable microscope will allow astronauts to collect and send images of blood samples to surgeons on the ground for diagnosis and treatment.
Nutrients are a key part of maintaining good health in space. But fresh produce is in short supply on the space station compared to the prepackaged meals astronauts eat during their six-month stays in low Earth orbit. Tomato seeds have therefore also been sent: they will be grown under two different light treatments. During taste tests (which will take place over the next hundred days), the crew will assess the flavor, aroma, juiciness and texture of the cultivated tomatoes.
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Surveys will track astronauts’ moods as they care for and interact with plants to see how feeding the seedlings improves the crew’s experience in space station isolation.
SpaceX has launched more than two dozen resupply missions to the space station over the past decade as part of a multi-billion dollar deal with NASA. The launch comes amid SpaceX’s busiest year yet, with more than 50 operations in 2022, including two astronaut missions.