Washington: Carrying a Moon microscope and solar arrays, SpaceX's 26th commercial resupply mission for NASA was on its way to the International Space Station (ISS),
With more than 7,700 pounds of science experiments, crew supplies and other cargo, the SpaceX Dragon spacecraft lifted off on the Falcon 9 rocket from NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida, US, late on Saturday.
Moon microscope tests a kit for in-flight medical diagnosis that includes a portable hand-held microscope and a small self-contained blood sample staining device. An astronaut collects and stains a blood sample, obtains images with the microscope, and transmits images to the ground, where flight surgeons use them to diagnose illness and prescribe treatment.
The kit could provide diagnostic capabilities for crew members in space or on the surface of the Moon or Mars, as well as the ability to test water, food, and surfaces for contamination, the US space agency said on Sunday. Two roll-out solar arrays, or iROSAs, were aboard the resupply mission for the agency and were installed in 2021.
The new set of solar arrays, once installed, will be a part of the plan to provide a 20-30 per cent increase in power for space station research and operations.
These arrays, the second of three packages, will complete the upgrade of half the station's power channels, said NASA.
Researchers have also been testing a plant growth unit on station known as 'Veggie' and have successfully grown a variety of leafy greens.
'Veg-05', the next step in that work, focuses on growing dwarf tomatoes. Another science experiment, 'BioNutrients-2', tests a system for producing key nutrients from yogurt, a fermented milk product known as kefir, and a yeast-based beverage. —IANS