SpaceX delivers ‘mighty mice,’ worms, robotic to house station

Space Station

The SpaceX Dragon capsule arrived on the Worldwide Area Station, Sunday, Dec. 8, 2019. Picture: NASA through AP

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — SpaceX made an early vacation supply to the Worldwide Area Station on Sunday, bringing muscle-bound “mighty mice,” pest-killing worms and a wise, empathetic robotic.

The station commander, Italy’s Luca Parmitano, used a big robotic arm to seize onto the Dragon three days after its launch from Cape Canaveral. The 2 spacecraft soared 260 miles (420 kilometers) above the South Pacific on the time of seize.

“Whenever we welcome a new vehicle on board, we take on board also a little bit of the soul of everybody that contributed to the project, so welcome on board,” Parmitano informed Mission Management.

It marks the third go to for this recycled Dragon. Flight controllers shortly secured the capsule to the orbiting lab, paving the best way for the hatch to open and the unloading to start.

The capsule holds 3 tons (2,720 kilograms) of provides, together with 40 mice for a muscle and bone experiment. Eight of them are genetically engineered with twice the traditional muscle mass — and so are thought-about “mighty mice.”‘ There are also 120,000 roundworms, or nematodes of a helpful selection which can be a part of an agricultural examine aimed toward controlling pests right here on Earth.

The capsule additionally has a big, spherical robotic head with synthetic intelligence and the power to sense astronauts’ feelings. Named Cimon, it’s an improved model of what flew up final yr to be examined as an astronaut’s helper.

NASA has tucked some Christmas presents within the cargo for the station’s six-person crew, as properly.

It’s SpaceX’s 19th supply to the orbiting outpost for NASA over the previous seven years.

The astronauts have one other cargo coming Monday — this one launched by Russia from Kazakhstan on Friday. IB/NVG

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