For almost a year, the world waited with baited breath for closure to a whodunit orbiting over 250 miles above everybody’s heads. Recently, the wait pertained to an end, clearing astronaut Frank Rubio’s name while doing so. NASA published a short rundown of the legend detailing the multi-month look for the MIA produce.
Whatever occurred to the vanishing dwarf tomatoes?
Back in November 2022, the International Space Station got a freight shipment consisting of products for Veg-05, a task focused on advancing NASA scientists’ and astronauts’ understanding of hydroponic and aeroponic growing techniques in microgravity, without soil. Access to fresh food will be an outright requirement throughout human beings’ long-lasting objectives to the moon, Mars, and possibly one day even beyond. Routine grocery runs will not precisely be an alternative for the very first citizens of a prospective Martian base, so growing healthy, healthy fruit and vegetables like tomatoes will be a must.
Veg-05 used astronauts a possibility to examine numerous growing strategies, which eventually led to an remarkable yield of dwarf tomatoes. At the time, astronauts consisting of Frank Rubio planned to ultimately taste test their ISS garden bounty. After choosing the very first 2 fruits off the vine, Rubio apparently sealed them in a Ziploc bag and “velcroed it where I was expected to velcro it,” he states in NASA’s video.
“And then I returned, and it was gone,” he continued.
While missing out on products are frequently recuperated within the numerous ISS consumption vents, Rubio approximates he invested someplace in between 18 and 20 hours of his extra time looking for the missing out on tomatoes, all to no get. All the while, easy going reports started to spread out aboard the ISS that he just consumed the treats without informing anybody. Rubio ultimately went back to Earth on September 27 having actually climaxed for longest time invested in area (371 days), however still an implicated male. Throughout a subsequent December 6 livestream, nevertheless, ISS’s existing citizens broke the news: Rubio’s innocence might lastly be validated.
[Related: Microgravity tomatoes, yogurt bacteria, and plastic eating microbes are headed to the ISS.]
“We can exonerate him; we discovered the tomato[es],” astronaut Jasmin Moghbeli stated throughout recently’s broadcast.
Nearly a year after their disappearance, the 2 small tomatoes were uncovered– dehydrated, rather squishy, however quite undamaged and in their initial Ziploc container.
That stated, Rubio wasn’t the only one to lose out on consuming the space-grown fruit and vegetables. In April 2023, NASA revealed that while astronauts effectively grew their tomatoes, an unanticipated threat of fungal and microbial contamination avoided anybody from in fact tasting the end products. For what it’s worth, nevertheless, Rubio’s uncovered tomatoes apparently showed no external indications of contamination– maybe a little bit of cosmic karma