ASTRONAUTS aboard the International Space Station were treated to their own Thanksgiving celebration over the weekend thanks to Elon Musk’s latest SpaceX launch.
At approximately 2:20 p.m. Saturday, Falcon 9 launched the 26th Dragon Commercial Resupply Services mission to the space station.
The mission carried 7,700 pounds of research supplies, scientific supplies, crew supplies, hardware, and most importantly, some Thanksgiving staples.
Special; Ice cream, green beans, cranberry-apple desserts, pumpkin pie, candy corn and other supplies, according to CNN.
It also carried new solar panels and dwarf tomato seeds.
The spacecraft docked with the International Space Station just before 7:40 a.m. Sunday.
Musk, SpaceX founder and CEO, celebrated the launch over the weekend, repeatedly sharing videos of various phases, including the launch, on Twitter.
Corresponding space newsthe Saturday launch was previously scheduled for November 22 but was delayed due to weather.
While the astronauts aboard the space station enjoy their belated Thanksgiving treats, they will use the dwarf tomatoes for one of NASA’s science experiments.
Researchers have tested plant growth on the International Space Station and grown “a variety of leafy greens.” according to to NASA.
Now the astronauts will turn their focus to tomatoes.
“A continuous source of nutritious food is essential for long-term exploration missions, and the typical prepackaged astronaut diet may need to be supplemented with fresh, space-produced food,” NASA said in an advertisement for the launch.
CNN reported that the dwarf tomatoes are grown in small bags under two different light treatments.
At the same time, a control experiment is being carried out on Earth.
During the experiment, the astronauts aboard the space station expect to harvest some tomatoes about 90, 97, and 104 days after they start growing.
Then have them rate the taste, smell, juiciness, and texture of each fruit.
The outlet reported that the tomatoes are expected to be ready for tasting in the spring.
“Tomatoes will be a new adventure for us in the vegetable market team trying to figure out how to keep these thirsty plants well watered without overwatering them,” Gioia Massa, NASA scientist and principal investigator on growing plants in space, told the outlet.
In addition, scientists will conduct an experiment using a portable, hand-held microscope and a self-contained staining device for blood samples.
NASA revealed this experiment could allow astronauts in space or on the surface of the Moon or Mars to “provide diagnostic capabilities” or test food, water and the surface for contamination.
In the coming days, the astronauts will also install new solar arrays outside of the floating laboratory on the space station.
The installations were planned during spacewalks on November 29 and December 3, according to CNN.
The Dragon spacecraft is expected to remain aboard the space station for about a month before jetting back to Earth.
https://www.thesun.ie/tech/news-tech/9814716/elon-musk-astronaut-thanksgiving-treats-into-space/ Elon Musk launches astronaut treats including pumpkin pie and ice cream