SpaceX launches tomato seeds and other supplies to the International Space Station after weather delay | CNN


SpaceX will again try to get a new batch of supplies to the International Space Station this weekend after bad weather at the launch site forced the company to scrap its first attempt.

The mission is scheduled to lift off from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida at 2:20 p.m. ET. Saturday. In case the weather disrupts those plans again, a backup launch window is set at 1:58 p.m. ET on Sunday. The original launch date was Tuesday.

Bonus supplies on board include a pair of new solar arrays for the space station, a dwarf tomato seed and a science experiment kit. There will also be treats for astronauts on the space station, like ice cream and Thanksgiving treats like spicy green beans, apple and cranberry candies, and pumpkin pie and sweet corn.

The solar arrays will be installed outside the floating lab during the spacewalk scheduled for November 29 and Dec. 3 It will give the space station a boost.

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. This launch This year comes amid SpaceX’s busiest year yet, with more than 50 operations to date, including two astronaut missions.

payload on board It includes a number of health-related items, such as the Moon Microscope set. A handheld microscope will allow astronauts to collect and send images of blood samples to flight surgeons on Earth for diagnosis and treatment.

Nutrients are an essential component for maintaining good health in space. But there is a shortage of fresh produce on the space station compared to the packaged meals astronauts eat during their six-month stay in low Earth orbit.

“It’s fairly important to NASA’s exploration goals to be able to support the crew not only with nutrition but also to look at different types of plants as sources of nutrients that we might be hard pressed to.” “To maintain long-haul flights between distant destinations like Mars and so forth,” said Kurt Costello, chief scientist for NASA’s International Space Station Program and deputy director of the International Space Station Research Integration Office.

Astronauts have grown and tasted different types of lettuce, radishes, and hot peppers on the International Space Station. Now, crew members can add some dwarf tomatoes—specifically, Red Robin tomatoes—to their list of space-grown salad ingredients.

This experiment is part of an effort to provide continuous production of fresh food in space.

Dwarf tomato seeds will be grown under different light treatments to measure the effect on the number of tomatoes that can be harvested as well as the nutritional value and taste of the plants. Red Robin tomatoes will also be grown on the ground as a control experiment. The two crops will be compared to measure the effects of a zero-gravity environment on tomato growth.

Space tomatoes will be grown inside small bags called plant pads installed in the vegetable production system, known as the vegetable grow room, on the space station. Astronauts often water and care for plants.

“Tomatoes will be a new adventure for us on vegetables “Trying to figure out how to keep these thirsty plants well watered without over-watering,” said Gioia Massa, a NASA space crop production scientist and principal investigator of the tomato study.

The tomatoes will be ready for their first taste test in the spring.

The crew is expecting Harvest tomatoes 90, 97 and 104 days after the plants begin to sprout. During taste tests, the crew will evaluate the flavor, aroma, juiciness, and texture of tomatoes grown using various light treatments. Half of the tomato crop will be frozen and returned to the ground for analysis.

Not only does growing plants on the space station provide an opportunity for fresh food and creative taco nights, but it can also boost the mood for the crew during their long spaceflights.

The surveys will follow the astronauts’ moods as they care for and interact with plants to see how seedling care enhances the crew Experience the loneliness of the space station.

The hardware is still being developed to produce larger crops on the space station and eventually other planets, but scientists are already planning which plants can grow best on the moon and Mars. Earlier this year, a team succeeded in growing plants in lunar soil that included samples collected during the Apollo missions.

“Tomatoes would be a great crop for the full moon,” Massa said. “It’s very nutritious, it’s very tasty, and we think astronauts will be really excited to grow it out there.”

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