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Expedition 70: Visionary Research and Earth Observations Precede Dragon’s Arrival

The sun’s glint beams across the Pacific Ocean in this photograph from the International Space Station as it orbited 259 miles above the Hawaiian island chain. Credit: NASA

The Expedition 70 crew mainly focused Wednesday’s scientific research activities on the human eye and Earth observations while also continuing its life support maintenance tasks. The orbital residents will also welcome a cargo mission due to launch to the International Space StationThe International Space Station (ISS) is a large spacecraft in orbit around the Earth that serves as a research laboratory and spaceport for international collaboration in space exploration. It was launched in 1998 and has been continuously occupied by rotating crews of astronauts and cosmonauts from around the world since 2000. The ISS is a joint project of five space agencies: NASA (USA), Roscosmos (Russia), JAXA (Japan), ESA (Europe), and CSA (Canada). It orbits the Earth at an altitude of approximately 400 kilometers (250 miles), and provides a unique platform for scientific research, technological development, and human space exploration.” data-gt-translate-attributes=”[{“attribute”:”data-cmtooltip”, “format”:”html”}]”>International Space Station (ISS) this week.

Vision Studies in Space

Vision is a critical element contributing to the success of a spaceflight and doctors want to understand how living in space during a long-term mission affects the human eye. Researchers on the ground observe astronauts with a variety of instruments and experiments on the station collecting data for analysis. Insights may show what happens to the eye when continuously exposed to weightlessness and how an astronaut’s vision re-adjusts to gravity after returning to Earth.

Astronaut Andreas Mogensen Poses With Spacesuit

ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut and Expedition 70 Commander Andreas Mogensen poses for a playful portrait with an empty spacesuit across from him inside the galley in the International Space Station’s Unity module. Credit: NASA

CIPHER Suite Studies

One portion of the CIPHER suite of human research studies taking place on the orbital lab today is looking at space-caused structural and functional changes in the eye. Astronauts Loral O’Hara and Satoshi Furukawa joined each other in the Columbus laboratory module for the advanced biology study. The duo first attached electrodes around their eyes to measure their retinal activity in response to light stimuli. Next, O’Hara from NASAEstablished in 1958, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) is an independent agency of the United States Federal Government that succeeded the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA). It is responsible for the civilian space program, as well as aeronautics and aerospace research. Its vision is "To discover and expand knowledge for the benefit of humanity." Its core values are "safety, integrity, teamwork, excellence, and inclusion." NASA conducts research, develops technology and launches missions to explore and study Earth, the solar system, and the universe beyond. It also works to advance the state of knowledge in a wide range of scientific fields, including Earth and space science, planetary science, astrophysics, and heliophysics, and it collaborates with private companies and international partners to achieve its goals.” data-gt-translate-attributes=”[{“attribute”:”data-cmtooltip”, “format”:”html”}]”>NASA and Furukawa from JAXAFormed in 2003, the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) was born through the merger of three institutions, namely the Institute of Space and Astronautical Science (ISAS), the National Aerospace Laboratory of Japan (NAL) and the National Space Development Agency of Japan (NASDA). JAXA performs various activities related to aerospace, from basic research in the aerospace field to development and utilization and is responsible for research, technology development, and launch of satellites into orbit, and is involved in advanced missions such as asteroid exploration and possible human exploration of the Moon.” data-gt-translate-attributes=”[{“attribute”:”data-cmtooltip”, “format”:”html”}]”>JAXA (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency) peered into medical imaging hardware for a closer look at their retinas. Finally, Furukawa imaged the eyes of Commander Andreas Mogensen from ESA (European Space AgencyThe European Space Agency (ESA) is an intergovernmental organization dedicated to the exploration and study of space. ESA was established in 1975 and has 22 member states, with its headquarters located in Paris, France. ESA is responsible for the development and coordination of Europe's space activities, including the design, construction, and launch of spacecraft and satellites for scientific research and Earth observation. Some of ESA's flagship missions have included the Rosetta mission to study a comet, the Gaia mission to create a 3D map of the Milky Way, and the ExoMars mission to search for evidence of past or present life on Mars.” data-gt-translate-attributes=”[{“attribute”:”data-cmtooltip”, “format”:”html”}]”>European Space Agency) using the same medical gear found in an optometrist’s office on Earth.

Camera Installation and Robotics Training

O’Hara also partnered with Mogensen during the day configuring camera gear that will be installed outside the space station on a future date. O’Hara then cleaned spacesuit helmets and stowed spacewalking gear inside the Quest airlock. Mogensen brushed up on his Canadarm2 robotics skills training on a computer to maintain his proficiency when operating the 57.7-foot-long robotic arm.

Astronaut Jasmin Moghbeli Poses With Spacesuit

NASA astronaut and Expedition 70 Flight Engineer Jasmin Moghbeli poses with a spacesuit in the International Space Station’s Quest airlock. Credit: NASA

Orbital Plumbing and Earth Observations

NASA Flight Engineer Jasmin Moghbeli spent all day in the Tranquility module working on orbital plumbing tasks. She removed and replaced components on the water recovery system that is part of the bathroom, also known as the Waste and Hygiene Compartment, located in Tranquility.

In the RoscosmosRoscosmos, also known as the Roscosmos State Corporation for Space Activities, is the Russian government agency responsible for space activities, including the development and operation of spacecraft, launch vehicles, and space stations. It was formed in 2015 through the merger of the Federal Space Agency (Roscosmos) and the United Rocket and Space Corporation. Roscosmos is responsible for Russia's space program and works closely with other international space agencies on joint projects, such as the International Space Station. The agency is also involved in a wide range of space-related activities, including scientific research, earth observation, telecommunications, and manned spaceflight.” data-gt-translate-attributes=”[{“attribute”:”data-cmtooltip”, “format”:”html”}]”>Roscosmos segment of the orbital outpost, the cosmonauts worked on a variety of Earth observation hardware supporting three different experiments. Veteran cosmonaut Oleg Kononenko set up a camera to monitor the effects of natural disasters and human-caused catastrophes on the ground. Flight Engineer Nikolai Chub configured a different set of camera gear pointing it toward Earth to image upper atmosphere clouds and gain more climate data. Flight Engineer Konstantin Borisov swapped lenses on the EarthKAM camera remotely controlled by students to capture their own imagery of Earth landmarks.

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Upcoming Cargo Mission

The SpaceXCommonly known as SpaceX, Space Exploration Technologies Corp. is a private American aerospace manufacturer and space transport services company that was founded by Elon Musk in 2002. Headquartered in Hawthorne, California, the company designs, manufactures, and launches advanced rockets and spacecraft. SpaceX's ultimate goal is to reduce space transportation costs and enable the colonization of Mars.” data-gt-translate-attributes=”[{“attribute”:”data-cmtooltip”, “format”:”html”}]”>SpaceX Dragon cargo spacecraft attached to the company’s Falcon 9 rocket is at the launch pad today at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center. Packed with several thousand pounds of new science experiments, crew supplies, and station hardware, Dragon is counting down to a liftoff at 8:28 p.m. EST on Thursday. It will arrive at the station on Saturday during its automated approach and rendezvous and dock to the Harmony module’s forward port at 5:21 a.m. O’Hara and Moghbeli will be on duty monitoring Dragon’s arrival.

Source: SciTechDaily