back to article Waiter, what's this? SpaceX delivery delayed for a day by moldy food

El Reg has never noticed that rodents were too fussy to turn down food because of mold – but that's what's just put a 24-hour delay to the latest SpaceX mission to the International Space Station. The 16th SpaceX resupply mission is now slated for 1316 EST (1816 UTC) on December 5, because NASA staffers spotted mold on fodder …

  1. the Jim bloke Silver badge

    Not too concerned about the mice

    although it may degrade the quality of the results, but getting spores through the life support system is something you want to avoid as best you can.

    1. AdamT

      Re: Not too concerned about the mice

      Went to a talk once by Chris Hadfield who described the delightful processes whereby they are "made empty" (because they might be crammed into the Soyuz capsule for up to 48hrs on the way to the ISS) and then "made clean" with a full body alcohol scrub specifically, as you say, to deal with fungal spores...

    2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      Re: Not too concerned about the mice

      Not to mention that they are studying disease progression in the rodents and that mould could well be penicillin :-)

  2. Inventor of the Marmite Laser Silver badge


    With eternal thanks to Mr Pratchett

    1. phuzz Silver badge


  3. Semtex451

    "Its aim is to compare the physiology of ageing and its effects on disease progression, by comparing groups of young and old mice on the ISS and back here on Earth."

    Depending on the type, mould in food can have a very direct effect on the physiology of ageing and disease progression, the Earth bound mice voted for non mouldy food so now they all have to have non mouldy food.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


  4. A K Stiles

    Off their food

    I wonder if the transition to micro-gravity has the same effect on mice as it does the astronauts, making them feel nauseous for a few days whilst they adapt to the lack of gravity on their stomach etc.

  5. Flywheel


    It's mould round here matey, unless that "mold" is specifically American, in which case I dunno...

    1. Semtex451

      Re: Spelling!

      Worse, the article alternates between the two spellings at random.

      1. Bassey

        Re: Spelling!

        > the article alternates between the two spellings at random.

        How do you know it's random? Have you even bothered to check for a pattern?

        1. Semtex451

          Re: Spelling!

          @ Bassey - You are of course quite right Sir. I apologise for my poor use of the word. I'll provide a rigorous analysis in due course.

          1. Trigonoceps occipitalis

            Re: Spelling!

            Its not random, just a way to pass info that the Aussies won't spot.

            1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

              Re: Spelling!

              You owe me a new keyboard!

  6. imanidiot Silver badge

    It's not really about the mice.

    The mice probably couldn't give a rats about a little mould on their food bars. The problem is that mould spores get into the air distribution system of the ISS and spread everywhere. It becomes very hard to eliminate mould once it sets in because of the sheer amount of hiding space it has in a system like the ISS.

    The old USSR/Russian MIR station suffered from mould problems through the later stages of it's existence. The ISS is dealing with it better because of regular cleaning and a requirement in design that nearly all spaces have to be accessible for said cleaning.

    1. MAF

      Re: It's not really about the mice.

      Mind you they're not doing that well with bacteria...

      Basically, human microbiota tend to accumulate in human habitats

      1. Semtex451

        Re: It's not really about the mice.

        "Basically, human microbiota tend to accumulate in human habitats"

        We El Reg readers are most keenly aware of this.


      2. imanidiot Silver badge

        Re: It's not really about the mice.

        Humans are filthy, filthy animals. You don't even need to go to space to know that.

        1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

          Re: It's not really about the mice.

          Little known fact: After the mould problems on Skylab/Soyuz, the SALT-II Treaty was passed banning the use of FOBS (Fractional Orbital Blob Suprises). One of those cases where the truth was hidden in plain sight, and cover given as a nuclear thing, rather than salt being effective against most small, non-aggressive slime moulds in space. But not the more aggressive mutations evolved in space, and certainly not against 10-tonne blobs dropped from orbit onto New York or Moscow. Banning from orbit was the only way to be sure.

  7. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

    Did you miss something off that list of cargo?

    What about the Christmas presents for the ISS occupants? After all, they've not got a chimney for Santa to come down - or much in the way of down...

    1. Jay Lenovo

      Re: Did you miss something off that list of cargo?

      Santa's Russian elves said they were drilling holes in the capsule... naughty list.

      Instead of lumps of coal, moldy mouse food, but Santa's helpers reconsidered.

  8. Rudolph Hucker the Third

    I didn't get where I am today without insisting on mold in my diet. Those psycho-active mushrooms are a good addition to the Stilton from Ye National Cheese Emporium's stock as well. The mice can wait their turn, I'm first in the queue to get spaced out.

    (Cracking cheese Grommit)

  9. andy gibson

    Can't see the problem myself. If it is indeed "moldy" they should be in for a treat:

  10. Andytug

    I should hope they're treating the mice right

    After all they ordered the building of Earth.......... #adams

  11. Wellyboot Silver badge

    Flightpath takes the Dragon over uk

    Cloudy again :(

  12. WonkoTheSane

    First stage landing was... damp

    It did NOT crash, it just went a little off course and gently landed upright in the water, just a few metres offshore, before toppling slowly over. There was no RUD involved. SpaceX have an intact booster to study.

    1. Hopalong

      Re: First stage landing was... damp

      Elon even thinks that they will be able to re-fly it, but on SpaceX missions (Dragon 2 abort?)

      1. imanidiot Silver badge

        Re: First stage landing was... damp

        I doubt they'd risk it for a Dragon 2 flight. They're on a time crunch there and I doubt NASA would like them using this booster and risking a failed test (RUDing the booster doesn't give valid results if it happens before MaxQ).

        I also have my doubts they'll be able to reuse it in the first place. Musk was very sure of himself when he tweeted, but that's before they've seen the actual booster. That thing toppling into the water like that must have done some damage to the (top) interstage section.

        1. AdamT

          Re: First stage landing was... damp

          Seems like the towing process has been a little fraught as well, so it might be in salt water longer than they were hoping. Various local Twitter users report that they are using "GO Quest" and a tug to try and recover it but both ships were out all night waiting for daylight, stopping it drifting too far and keeping other vessels away. You can see the tracks of GO Quest here: which look a little convoluted...

          1. imanidiot Silver badge

            Re: First stage landing was... damp

            maybe they ran into the same problem they had with one of the earlier soft landed boosters where they can't depressurise the tanks properly, preventing them from getting too close.

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