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The competition heats up: SpaceX’s most recently launched Dragon capsule today returned to Earth and was successfully recovered.
The Dragon is the only spacecraft flying today that can return large amounts of cargo to Earth.
Among the cargo brought back from space Friday were a dozen mice from a Japanese science experiment — the first brought home alive in a Dragon. Samples from mice euthanized as part of an experiment by pharmaceutical company Eli Lilly also were on board. Results were returned from an experiment that studied the behavior of heart cells in microgravity, and from research into the composition of microbes in the human digestive system, NASA said. Findings from both could help keep astronauts healthy during deep space exploration missions.