Science & Tech

NASA astronauts finally find tomato that was ‘lost in space’ for months

NASA astronauts finally find tomato that was ‘lost in space’ for months
NASA astronauts feast on 'best tacos' with chilli peppers grown in space

NASA astronauts have finally found a tomato that was “lost in space” after floating away for eight months.

Amazingly, NASA astronauts have found ways to sustain themselves with nutritious food in space by growing fruit and vegetables on the International Space Station (ISS).

They previously used the first chilli peppers grown in space to make “the best space tacos” to supplement their otherwise rehydrated food transported onboard.

When astronaut Frank Rubio was harvesting some ripe tomatoes in March this year, one went floating off in the almost zero gravity environment of the ISS – over eight months later, another crew of NASA astronauts have finally found it.

Astronaut Jasmin Moghbeli revealed during a live stream event on Wednesday 6 December that the wandering tomato had been recovered and finally put Rubio in the clear after he was accused of eating it.

She explained: “Our good friend Frank Rubio, who headed home [already], has been blamed for quite a while for eating the tomato. But we can exonerate him. We found the tomato.”

The find puts to end a long-running joke that began when Rubio harvested the 1-inch-wide Red Robin dwarf tomatoes as part of the Veg-05 experiment to produce salad crops in space.

The harvest was shared among the crew, but before Rubio could get a taste, the sealed bag he kept it in had floated away, to the disbelief of his fellow astronauts.

Rubio said during an ISS livestream in September: “I spent so many hours looking for that thing. I'm sure the desiccated tomato will show up at some point and vindicate me, years in the future.”

When reporters asked Rubio about the tomato around two weeks after he came back to Earth in late September, he explained what condition it might be in if someone found it.

He explained: “The reality of the problem, you know — the humidity up there is like 17 per cent. It's probably desiccated to the point where you couldn't tell what it was, and somebody just threw away the bag.”

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