Worms brought back home from orbit

SpaceX Dragon capsule splashes down in Pacific Ocean carrying scientific samples and equipment

Photo by: Ian D. Chin Chang
Photo by: Ian D. Chin Chang

Updated Jul 28, 2015

A Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX) Dragon rocket returned to Earth on Thursday, carrying scientific samples and other equipment.

The capsule filled with 1.4 metric tons of cargo was undocked from the International Space Station (ISS) at 11:04 GMT by NASA astronaut Scott Kelly, who has been at the station for almost one year.

The dragon capsule landed in the Pacific Ocean at 15:42 GMT. The capsule was carrying scientific samples and experiment, including roundworms, which were part of Japanese medical studies.

In the experiments which started mid-January, scientists aimed to understand the effects of space flights on aging as well as bone and muscle density.

Scientists grew different batches of roundworms to assess how gravity affects them at various stages of their development.

Even with regular exercise, organisms lose muscle mass under zero gravity conditions, which is one of the greatest hurdles to overcome for longer space missions such as a proposed voyage to Mars.

SpaceX is one of two private firms contracted by NASA to fly cargos to the ISS after the Space Agency ended its shuttle missions.

Owned and run by Ellon Musk, SpaceX is currently working on a new version of its Dragon rocket to carry astronauts which is expected to be tested next year

TRTWorld and agencies