Koichi Wakata/Japan Aerospace Exploration Company/NASA
It is gotta be exhausting to lose one thing if you’re swirling across the Earth on the Worldwide House Station — proper? Effectively, apparently not. A lacking tomato sparked a lighthearted thriller for the astronauts on board the ISS – and it is lastly been solved after months of accusations and intrigue.
What is probably going one of many first tomatoes ever harvested in area was plucked by astronaut Frank Rubio in March, shared in a publish on X (previously often called Twitter) by NASA. So when it is sensible that when it vanished, all finger pointing was directed at Rubio.
It’s harvest time! 🍅
The Veg-05 examine is the following step in addressing the necessity for a steady fresh-food manufacturing system in area. This crop of dwarf tomatoes is heading again to Earth for scientific evaluation! pic.twitter.com/4f0LtFwJAY
— ISS Analysis (@ISS_Research) March 29, 2023
Rubio just lately made historical past for breaking the file of the longest spaceflight for a U.S. astronaut, spending 371 days in area. He returned to Earth on the finish of September and spoke at a NASA briefing in October, the place he addressed these tomato consuming allegations.
He defined that NASA is conducting botany research onboard the ISS so astronauts may work out methods to develop contemporary meals in area for long term missions.
“I put [the tomato] in a bit bag, and certainly one of my crewmates was doing [an] occasion with some schoolkids, and I assumed it might be sort of cool to point out the youngsters, ‘Hey guys, that is the primary tomato harvested in area,’ ” he stated. “Then, I used to be fairly assured that I Velcroed it the place I used to be purported to Velcro it, after which I got here again and it was gone.”
Rubio estimated he spent between 8 and 20 hours of his personal time trying to find the misplaced fruit. (Whether or not tomatoes are fruits or greens will depend on who you ask. Within the nineteenth century, the Supreme Court docket got here down on the aspect of greens — form of.)
“I needed to seek out it principally so I may show, like, ‘I didn’t eat the tomato,’ ” he stated, and defined he by no means discovered it. “A proud second of harvesting the primary tomato in area grew to become a self-inflicted wound of shedding the primary tomato in area.”
Rubio stated he hoped somebody would discover it sooner or later — and that hope was lastly realized greater than eight months later.
“We’d have discovered one thing that somebody has been searching for for fairly some time,” astronaut Jasmin Moghbeli said in a NASA video talk from the ISS earlier this week.
“Our good pal Frank Rubio who headed residence has been blamed for fairly some time for consuming the tomato — however we will exonerate him: We discovered the tomato.”
The crew laughed. No phrase on the place it was hiding or what it seemed like when it was found, although.
And now Frank Rubio walks the earth with a cleared title.