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Space mystery solved: astronauts find missing tomato on ISS after eight months

Astronaut Frank Rubio with his tomato plants on the ISS in October 2022.Photo: Nasa

A great space mystery has finally been solved. After eight months, the astronauts of the ISS have managed to find a missing tomato. “Our colleague’s name has been cleared.”

The discovery was announced this week during a press conference from the International Space Station. After they had previously – jokingly – accused their colleague Frank Rubio of secretly eating the tomato, the seven astronauts still on the ISS declared that Rubio had been exonerated. “We all thought he was the perpetrator, but his name has been cleared,” said astronaut Jasmin Moghbeli.

What exactly had happened? As part of a study to see if crops can also be grown in space, the astronauts planted tomatoes, among other things, on the space station. With success, because earlier this year the first tomatoes could be harvested. Each astronaut who participated in the project received a few tomatoes in a bag in March. However, due to possible mold contamination, they were not allowed to eat the fruits.

However, Frank Rubio, who returned home earlier this year after a record stay on the ISS, had to admit with embarrassment that he had lost one of his tomatoes. “One of the crew was doing a public event with some school kids and I thought it would be cool to have the kids the first tomato in space to show. I was pretty sure I had secured the tomato with Velcro, but when I came back, the tomato was suddenly gone…”

Rubio added that he spent about “eight to 20 hours of his free time” on the space station searching for the tomato, and the search continued after his return to Earth. “I mainly wanted to find the tomato so I could prove that I hadn’t eaten it.”

After eight months, it turns out that Rubio told the truth, as his colleagues had to admit. The tomato was recovered. It was not disclosed exactly where the tomato was located and what condition it was in.

2023-12-10 12:05:08
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