NASA just sent its astronauts some weird stuff

SpaceX’s Dragon spacecraft successfully docked
with the International Space Station on Jan. 12,
and astronauts will be unloading over 5,100 lbs
(2,300kg) of cargo it brought up for NASA and
other space agencies over the next month. Beyond
the supplies, late Christmas presents ( http://
http://www.nasa.gov/sites/default/files/filesSpaceX_CRS-5_factsheet.pdf ) , and replacement
equipment that astronauts had been waiting for
patiently, there were a few unusual items that the
Dragon took up. According to a NASA factsheet (
http://www.nasa.gov/sites/default/files/filesSpaceX_CRS-5_factsheet.pdf ) , here’s what else
was onboard:

Flatworms

NASA wants to study how these generally parasitic
invertebrates regenerate their cells in low gravity.
The space agency says its tests will provide
insight into how wounds heal in space, and how
humans could potentially heal themselves. Like
Wolverine.

Fruit flies

The same insects that seemingly appear out of
nowhere every time you leave fruit out in the
kitchen are now on the ISS, albeit under
anesthesia (as opposed to annoying astronauts
while they eat). NASA says it will be testing the
immune systems of the common fruit fly, as
spaceflight affects all animals’ immune systems,
and apparently the flies provide a good model for
our own immune systems.

IMAX Camera

Christopher Nolan would probably have loved to
use some of the shots the astronauts are likely to
get as B-roll for Interstellar.

Salmonella

Continuing the self-preservation-in-space theme,
NASA says it has brought up the Salmonella virus
to test on roundworms, to better understand the
risks of infections (and under-cooking chicken)
during long-term space flights.

NASA was unable to confirm exactly what was in the care packages sent to
each astronaut, or what groceries were set up
beyond the usual “Space Food ( http://www.nasa.gov/pdf/71426main_FS-2002-10-079-
JSC.pdf ) ,” but we do know that the astronauts
were really hankering for some mustard ( http://www.usatoday.com/story/tech/2015/01/12/spacex-cargo-ship-arrives-iss/21622813/ ) .

“We’re excited to have it on board,” astronaut
Barry Wilmore told mission control, the USA Today
reported.”We’ll be digging in soon.”

Author : Mike Murphy

URL : http://qz.com/326047/nasa-just-sent-its-astronauts-some-weird-stuff/

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