A black mold that seems to have infiltrated the luggage led to delays in the cargo launch for the ISS. NASA will be looking into the matter very closely.
A fortnight’s delay will have to be patiently traversed by the NASA staff after a black mold invaded the canvas bags in the cargo headed to the ISS. These bags were to be employed for packing purposes.
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Eatables, wearables and other miscellaneous products were to be packed in them. The mold is a common occurrence in Florida’s humid climate. Both NASA and Lockheed Martin are busy looking into the matter. The mold is being examined to see whether it is a hazard.
The Orbital Cygnus cargo ship was mostly ready for launch. As regards its packing, the last minute touches had been made. But the discovery of the mold led to a delay.
The mold was found during the standard inspection process. The cargo will have to be unpacked, washed clean and only after the disinfection of the mold will the launch be allowed to proceed as per schedule, according to Reuters.
While the mold would not have been particularly dangerous to the astronauts aboard the ISS, just to be on the safe side, the NASA staff decided to clean the cargo of its presence.
Now the launch will be in late March. The impacts of this delay are currently being calculated by NASA. The last time a shipment was sent to the ISS, its spacecraft exploded along the way.
The ISS is a $100 billion pit stop in space that lies 250 miles above the surface of the earth. Astronauts perform experiments and also engage in routine tasks aboard the ISS.
The ISS is always in touch with ground control at NASA. Since the astronauts are so far away from earth, anything could go wrong. Hence, NASA is very careful regarding the whole thing.
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So much so that even a harmless black mold is alarming for the agency and a clean-up act was necessary before the cargo could be sent shooting up into the sky.