Two lost tomatoes on the space station were found (video)

NASA astronaut Frank Rubio lost track of two tomatoes while harvesting for the Exposed Root On-Orbit Test System (XROOTS) experiment aboard the space station in 2022.

Two lost tomatoes on the space station
Two lost tomatoes on the space station. (Image credit: NASA)

Growing plants on the International Space Station (ISS) is essential because astronauts stay there for long periods of time. It makes them self-sustainable and provides a cleaner breathing environment.

XROOTS experiment uses hydroponic and aeroponic techniques to grow plants without soil or other growth media and could provide suitable solutions for plant systems needed for future space exploration missions. 

The current ISS crew members (Expedition 70 crew) found the lost tomatoes nearly a year after their initial disappearance in December 2023.

The fruits were found in a plastic bag that was dehydrated and slightly squished, with some discoloration but no visible microbial or fungal growth.

These tomatoes from the XROOTS experiment will not be taken back to Earth for analysis as they were discarded.

The story of the missing tomatoes

Who is on the International Space Station right now?

Currently there are seven crew members on the International Space Station (ISS) according to NASA.

Current ISS crew members
Current ISS crew members from left to right: Roscosmos cosmonaut Nikolai Chub, Roscosmos cosmonaut Konstantin Borisov, ESA astronaut Andreas Mogensen, Roscosmos cosmonaut Oleg Kononenko, NASA astronaut Jasmin Moghbeli, JAXA astronaut Satoshi Furukawa, and NASA astronaut Loral O’Hara. (Image credit: NASA Johnson Space Center)
Current crew members at ISSRoleSpace agencyNationality
Andreas MogensenCommanderESADanish
Jasmin MoghbeliFlight EngineerNASAAmerican
Satoshi FurukawaFlight EngineerJAXAJapanese
Loral O’HaraFlight EngineerNASAAmerican
Konstantin BorisovFlight EngineerRoscosmosRussian
Oleg KononenkoFlight EngineerRoscosmosRussian
Nikolai ChubFlight EngineerRoscosmosRussian

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About the Author

Ashim

Ashim Chandra Sarkar founded Space & Telescope in 2022. He holds a M.Sc. in physics and has five years of research experience in optical astronomy. His passion for astronomy inspired him to open this website. He is responsible for the editorial vision of spaceandtelescope.com.

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