(Image of tomatoes lost in space for eight months)

NASA revealed footage of two small tomatoes that went missing in space in 2022 after being harvested by astronaut Frank Rubio on the International Space Station. The discovery showed scientists how the 17% humidity onboard affected food in a Ziploc bag. Despite being nearly a year after their disappearance, the tomatoes were found dehydrated and slightly squished but showed no visible microbial or fungal growth, according to NASA officials. The exact location of the tomatoes was not disclosed.

Rubio had previously mentioned a single lost tomato, which NASA has now revealed grew as part of the eXposed Root On-Orbit Test System (XROOTS) experiment in 2022.

"The experiment employs hydroponic and aeroponic techniques to cultivate plants without soil or other growth media, offering potential solutions for plant systems required in future space exploration missions," stated the agency. While the discovery provided a lighthearted moment for Rubio, returning from his one-year mission, NASA emphasized that the actual purpose of growing food on the ISS is to practice techniques applicable to the exploration of the Moon and Mars.

NASA conducts multiple experiments to provide astronauts with fresh food. VEG-05 tests dwarf tomatoes and other crops, while Planet Habitat-03, one of the initial multi-generational plant studies on the space station, explores the potential transfer of genetic adaptations between plant generations in space, according to NASA.