The Dragon spacecraft from SpaceX has successfully returned from the International Space Station (ISS) with over 4,200 pounds of experiments from NASA. Many of the scientific experiments the spacecraft carried were about studies on maintaining the health of astronauts in space.

At about 5:48 pm EDT, the Dragon spacecraft safely splashed down in the Pacific Ocean, according to NASA. It landed about 200 miles from Long Beach, California.

The spacecraft’s return to Earth marked the last cargo run for SpaceX’s resupply mission for the ISS. The event was a momentous occasion for both SpaceX and NASA since the Dragon was able to return different important scientific experiments that were conducted by the astronauts aboard the station.

One of the experiments that Dragon brought home contained the results of the Genes In Space – 6 project. This study allowed astronauts to successfully edit DNA samples in space for the first time using the CRISPR/Cas9 system. Through their findings, they were able to determine how DNA repairs the damages caused by radiation in space.

Another experiment returned to Earth was on the crystal growth of proteins. The focus of the experiment was to determine the type of protein that benefits the most from crystallization in microgravity. According to NASA, the findings of the study can be used in the development of cancer treatment and radiation protection.

Aside from these studies, the ISS astronauts were also able to closely monitor how microgravity in space affects the algae Haematococcus pluvialis, which is capable of producing the powerful antioxidant astaxanthin. Their findings can be used for the development of an effective dietary supplement that can improve astronauts’ health for long-term space missions.

These are only some of the important experiments that Dragon delivered from the ISS. Aside from using the findings in preparation for NASA’s upcoming Moon and Mars missions, the studies also have various Earth-bound applications.

In a statement, the space agency noted that the experiments will be brought to various laboratories for analysis. The findings will then be shared to various sectors including U.S. government departments, private industries and medical facilities.

SpaceX Dragon Spacecraft SpaceX launches its fifth commercial resupply mission for NASA on Tuesday. Photo: NASA