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Missing for a year, space tomatoes reappear on the International Space Station

2024-03-04 Update From: SLTechnology News&Howtos shulou NAV: SLTechnology News&Howtos > IT Information >

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CTOnews.com, Dec. 17 (Xinhua) A year after being lost in space, astronaut Frank Rubio's space tomatoes lost on the International Space Station in 2022 were finally recovered, not one, but two.

According to CTOnews.com, Rubio harvested these tomatoes on the International Space Station in 2022, and they were supposed to be a delicious space meal for astronauts. However, as it was not easy to keep the food fresh in the weightlessness environment in space, Rubio temporarily put them in a bag and accidentally drifted away, never to be heard of since.

On Thursday, however, NASA officials were pleasantly surprised to announce that they had found the two lost space tomatoes in a space station cabin whose location was kept secret. "although they have been missing for nearly a year, the tomatoes are still intact, only slightly dehydrated and deformed," NASA officials wrote in a statement. "except for slight discoloration, there is no visible microbial or fungal growth."

It is worth noting that the missing tomatoes were previously reported to be from the 2023 VEG-05 project, but NASA clarified that they were actually the result of the 2022 Root experiment in Space (eXposed Root On-Orbit Test System), which aims to explore the use of hydroponic and aeroculture techniques to grow plants in space to provide a source of food for future space exploration missions.

Although Rubio has returned to Earth after a year-long trip into space, he is still very excited about the unexpected discovery.

NASA stressed that growing food on the International Space Station is not only to satisfy the appetite of astronauts, but also to accumulate experience and technology for future missions to the moon and Mars.

In addition to the XROOTS project, there are other ongoing experiments on growing food in space. For example, the VEG-05 project is testing the cultivation of dwarf tomatoes and other foods, while the latest Planet Habitat-03 project is the first attempt to grow multiple generations of plants on a space station to study the effects of the space environment on plant genes.

In addition to the food supply, space planting has other important implications. "the benefits of growing plants in space are much more than that," NASA officials added. "astronauts report that spending time gardening brings psychological benefits, improving their quality of life in space and boosting morale."

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