Today’s DNA, Immunity, Time Studies Boost Health in Space and on Earth
The Expedition 59 crew is spending all day Tuesday exploring how astronauts adjust with Earth’s gravity no longer bearing down on them. Spacewalk preparations and lab maintenance are also ongoing aboard the International Space Station.
Station crewmembers and future astronauts going to the Moon in 2024 have to adjust to the lack of a sunrise/sunset cycle humans experience everyday on Earth. As a result, time perception is impacted and may affect sleep and work patterns. Astronauts Anne McClain, Nick Hague and David Saint-Jacques started the day on a study, going on since July 2017, exploring subjective changes in time that can alter physical and cognitive performance.
Hague later sequenced DNA samples for a study exploring how increased exposure to space radiation impacts crew health. He used the Biomolecule Sequencer for the investigation to demonstrate DNA sequencing in space. The Genes In Space-6 experiment is researching how space radiation damages DNA and how the cell repair mechanism works in microgravity.
Immune system studies continued full speed ahead today to test the hypothesis the immune response decreases in space. Astronaut Christina Koch teamed up with McClain and Saint-Jacques throughout the day observing mice for the study. Observations may help scientists develop advanced vaccines and therapies benefiting both astronauts and Earthlings.
Biology and Physics on Station Today Promote Moon Mission Success in 2024
The six residents aboard the International Space Station kicked off the workweek today exploring microgravity’s long-term impacts on biology and physics. The Expedition 59 crew is also ramping up for a fourth spacewalk at the orbital lab this year.
NASA is planning to send men and women to the Moon in 2024 and life science on the station will help flight surgeons keep lunar astronauts healthy. The space physics research will also provide critical insights to engineers designing future spacecraft and habitats for exploration missions.
Several dozen mice and their immune systems, which are similar to humans, are being continuously observed in specialized habitats. Flight Engineer Anne McClain tended to the mice today cleaning cages and restocking food in Japan’s Kibo laboratory module. Doctors are testing the hypothesis the immune response decreases in space and exploring advanced vaccines and therapies benefiting both astronauts and Earthlings.
David Saint-Jacques of the Canadian Space Agency recorded a video demonstrating Isaac Newton’s Second and Third Laws. The video will help young students understand how force and acceleration influence air and space missions. He also transferred data captured from tiny internal satellites exploring space debris cleanup technology.
Commander Oleg Kononenko and Flight Engineer Alexey Ovchinin are getting ready for a spacewalk planned for May 29. The cosmonauts are resizing their spacesuits, inspecting the components and checking for leaks today. The duo will remove experiments, sample station surfaces and jettison obsolete hardware during their six-hour excursion.
The International Space Station will cross over the United States this weekend from the Gulf Coast to the North Atlantic. Skywatchers along the station’s orbital track from New Orleans, La., to Portland, Maine, can see the orbital lab Friday and Saturday night. More sighting times for these and other American cities are below…
Multitude of Space Biology Research as Crew Looks to Next Spacewalk
Four Expedition 59 astronauts spent Friday investigating a multitude of space biology phenomena while two cosmonauts continued preparing for an upcoming spacewalk. International Space Station hardware is also ready for return to Earth inside the SpaceX Dragon resupply ship.
The crew is exploring how space impacts a variety of microscopic physiological processes today to get humans ready to go to the Moon in 2024. DNA, pathogens and microalgae as well as their benefits and risks to astronauts are just some of the microbiological systems scientists are studying in space.
The Bio-Analyzer is a new device from the Canadian Space Agency (CSA) being tested aboard the space station for its ability to process and analyze biological samples quickly. CSA astronaut David Saint-Jacques added his blood samples to the biomedical device today so doctors could check his biomarkers from the ground.
NASA astronaut Christina Koch studied a pair of yeast strains today using the miniPCR hardware for the Genes In Space-6 study. The experiment is exploring how space radiation damages DNA and how the cell repair mechanism works in microgravity. Koch later tended to plants grown inside the Veggie PONDS botany facility.
More research into why pathogens become more virulent in space continued today as Flight Engineer Nick Hague processed culture samples for the microbiology study. Hague also checked on microalgae sample packs that may serve as a dietary supplement for future astronauts.
Hague also configured a variety of space biology hardware, both large and small, ensuring critical research operations continue successfully on the orbital lab. He first worked on a pair of refrigerator-sized Human Research Facility racks before checking out the shoebox-sized TangoLab-1 facility that enables a variety of tissue, cell and botany investigations.
Anne McClain of NASA turned her attention Friday to old hardware disconnected during a spacewalk earlier this year. She will retrieve a failed Battery Charge Discharge Unit (BCDU) resting outside the Kibo laboratory module’s airlock and bring it inside the station. The Canadarm2’s robotic hand, known as Dextre, removed the BCDU early Thursday from a truss structure logistics carrier and placed it outside Kibo. The BCDU will be packed aboard the SpaceX Dragon cargo craft for analysis after it returns to Earth June 3.
Two cosmonauts are getting ready for the fourth station spacewalk this year scheduled to take place May 29. Commander Oleg Kononenko and Flight Engineer Alexey Ovchinin tagged up with Russian spacewalk specialists on the ground today for assistance setting up their Orlan spacesuits. The duo will remove experiments, sample station surfaces and jettison obsolete hardware during their six-hour excursion.