By Alan Gionet
LAKEWOOD, Colo. (CBS4) – If it sounds unusual, it is. NASA has delayed an entire rocket launch because of moldy mouse food. The rocket was scheduled to go blast off before noon Tuesday to re-supply the International Space Station.
The 16th SpaceX cargo re-supply mission was delayed. NASA released a statement, “After mold was found on food bars for a rodent investigation prior to handover to SpaceX.”
The mission included an experiment created by Warren Tech/Lakewood High School students in Colorado to help NASA grow food in space. The experiment was one of two to win a national high school level competition run by the Marvel Corporation to place an experiment on the space station.
The students are trying to solve a problem of growing plants in micro-gravity that may help extend human space travel. A previous launch in 2015 carried a similar experiment by teacher Matt Brown’s class. That hydrofuge for growing plants got clogged because of a rusty bearing.
This launch delay has nothing to do with the Warren Tech/Lakewood High experiment. Another experiment heading to the ISS included mice.
“The delay is just a part of the experience,” said Brown, who traveled to Kennedy Space Center with three current and two former students to watch the launch.
“We came down knowing that this is a fluid process and all you can do is make the most of the opportunity.”
“The teams will use the extra day to replace the food bars,” according to NASA.
Launch is scheduled for Wednesday at 11:16 a.m.