Christmas gifts delivered to the ISS

The Dragon capsule arrived at the orbiting outpost Sunday, delivering “mighty mice,” pest-killing worms and a smart, empathetic robot. (NASA via AP)

SpaceX made an early holiday delivery to the International Space Station on Sunday, bringing muscle-bound “mighty mice,” pest-killing worms and a smart, empathetic robot.

The Dragon was launched from Cape Canaveral three days earlier.

The two spacecraft soared 260 miles (420 kilometers) above the South Pacific at the time of capture.

It marks the third visit for this recycled Dragon.

The capsule holds 3 tons (2,720 kilograms) of supplies, including 40 mice for a muscle and bone experiment.

Eight of them are genetically engineered with twice the normal muscle mass - and so are considered “mighty mice.”

There also are 120,000 roundworms, or nematodes of a beneficial variety that are part of an agricultural study aimed at controlling pests here on Earth.

The capsule also has a large, round robot head with artificial intelligence and the ability to sense astronauts’ emotions.

Named Cimon, it’s an improved version of what flew up last year to be tested as an astronaut’s helper.

NASA has tucked some Christmas presents in the shipment for the station’s six-person crew, as well.

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

The astronauts have another shipment coming on Monday - this one launched by Russia from Kazakhstan on Friday.

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Last Update: Wednesday, 20 May 2020 KSA 09:56 - GMT 06:56
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