While other cargo ships can bring research payloads to the station, only the Dragon capsule and the Russian Soyuz can safely get the cargo home.
The NanoRacks Plate Reader, shown here, will enable in orbit analysis of research samples for certain studies aboard the International Space Station. (NASA)
The Dragon capsule is scheduled to return to Earth on March 25, bringing home nearly double the amount of supplies it brought up — about 2,668 pounds (1,210 kilograms). Returning investigation samples will demonstrate how life in microgravity affects the growth of plant seedlings, changes to the human body, the behavior of semiconductors and detergents, and more.
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|The Experiment Container with Plant Seedling Seed Cassettes (seedlings, inset lower right) is an example of the samples returning aboard the SpaceX Dragon vehicle for ground analysis. (NASA)|
|Examples of how coarsening appears in microgravity (left) vs. on Earth (right); revealing characteristics hidden by gravity is the goal of the CSLM-3 investigation traveling to the International Space Station on SpaceX Dragon. (NASA)|
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