Surprise discovery on the International Space Station

A tomato caused a stir: it not only grew on the ISS, but also disappeared there. Now one astronaut is particularly relieved.

A mystery has been solved on the International Space Station (ISS) that caused accusations and, above all, a lengthy search. Because the astronauts had lost something – something that shouldn’t happen on a high-tech facility like the ISS. But it wasn’t a screw or a tool. It was a tomato. It was harvested by astronaut Frank Rubio in March as part of a botanical experiment – apparently the first to ever grow in space. But then she mysteriously disappeared, as the American broadcaster NPR reported. It was rumored that Rubio might have eaten them.

“I thought I had sealed the bag”

When Rubio returned after 371 days in space, he was immediately asked about the tomato in October. “I had put them in a little bag, a colleague was having a meeting with school children and I thought it would be cool to show them there,” he said at a press conference. He was sure he had sealed the bag – but when he checked later, it was gone. She had probably become independent in weightlessness. Rubio said he spent up to 20 hours searching for the rare fruit.

“The main reason I wanted to find it was to be able to prove that I didn’t eat the tomato,” he said, adding that he hadn’t found it until he left. “The proud moment of harvesting the first tomato in space became a self-inflicted wound because I lost the first tomato in space.”

Now came the good news. The tomato was still on the ISS. In a video conference with NASA last week, according to the NPR report, astronaut Jasmin Mogbhbeli announced the news: “We seem to have found something that someone has been looking for a long time,” she said, alluding to Rubio. However, the mystery is not completely solved: the crew did not say where they found the tomato or what condition it was in.


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