On Wednesday, NASA announced that the upgraded SpaceX Dragon cargo spacecraft would successfully fly west of Tampa, Florida at 8:26 p.m. The successful splashdown marked the end of ISS, the company’s 21st contracted cargo risupply mission. The spacecraft brought 4400 pounds of scientific experimentation and other cargo back to Earth.
Upgrades to this particular Dragon Cargo spacecraft included twice the locker-powered availability than previous capsules, allowing a significant increase in the amount of research experiments scientists had brought back to Earth. The mission was also notable because of the very rapid change in scientists receiving from experiments waiting to land in Florida to begin their research.
NASA says that some scientists withdrew their research 4 to 9 hours after the splatter. Many experiments were done in spacecraft including Cardinal Heart. That particular experiment investigated how microgravity causes changes in workload and the shape of the human heart. NASA says it is still unknown if those changes become permanent if a person lives in space for over a year.
Space organogenesis was another experiment aboard a spacecraft and analyzed by JAXA to demonstrate the evolution of 3D organ buds from human stem cells to analyze changes in gene expression in microgravity. One of the returned experiments was used in the sextant navigation experiment aboard the ISS. Before modern navigation techniques developed, Mariners had used sextant for navigation for centuries.
Rodent Research-23 was also among the returned experiments. It studied the function of arteries, veins and lymphatic structures in the eye and altered the retina of mice before and after a spacecraft. In that study the rodents were returned to Earth. Many additional experiments were carried out in the mission.