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Eyes in the Sky: ISS Crew’s Ultrasound Adventures & Cygnus Cargo Countdown

JAXA (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency) astronaut and Expedition 70 Flight Engineer Satoshi Furukawa peers at the Earth from inside the International Space Station’s “window to the world,” also known as the cupola. The orbital lab was soaring 274 miles above the south Atlantic Ocean at the time of this photograph. Credit: NASA

Human research and space physics were the dominant science topics aboard 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”}]” tabindex=”0″ role=”link”>International Space Station (ISS) on Thursday. The Expedition 70 crew is also preparing for a U.S. cargo mission targeted to launch next week.

Medical Research in Orbit

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”}]” tabindex=”0″ role=”link”>NASA astronaut Jasmin Moghbeli and 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”}]” tabindex=”0″ role=”link”>Roscosmos cosmonaut Konstantin Borisov took turns as crew medical officer on Thursday and performed eye scans of their crewmates using the Ultrasound 2 device. Moghbeli operated the device imaging the eyes of Commander Andreas Mogensen and Flight Engineer Satoshi Furukawa. Borisov also scanned Roscosmos Flight Engineer Nikolai Chub’s eyes. Doctors on the ground monitored and assisted the diagnostic exam in real-time. The ultrasound scanning procedure uses high-frequency soundwaves to observe how microgravity affects a crew member’s eye structure.

Astronaut Jasmin Moghbeli Collects Water Samples for Microbial Analysis

NASA astronaut and Expedition 70 Flight Engineer Jasmin Moghbeli collects water samples for microbial analysis inside the International Space Station’s Destiny laboratory module. Credit: NASA

Preparing for Cygnus Cargo Arrival

Afterward, 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”}]” tabindex=”0″ role=”link”>European Space Agency) 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”}]” tabindex=”0″ role=”link”>JAXA (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency) reviewed procedures planned for the Wednesday, January 31, arrival and capture of the Northrop Grumman Cygnus cargo craft. Moghbeli joined NASA Flight Engineer Loral O’Hara and practiced on a computer capturing Cygnus with the Canadarm2 robotic arm. The duo will be on duty Wednesday with Moghbeli at the controls of the Canadarm2 while O’Hara monitors the vehicle’s approach and rendezvous. Cygnus is counting down to a launch at 12:29 p.m. ESTEST is an abbreviation for Eastern Standard Time, the time zone for the eastern coast of the United States and Canada when observing standard time (autumn/winter). It is five hours behind Coordinated Universal Time. New York City, Washington, D.C., Boston, and the Kennedy Space Center are in the Eastern Time Zone (ET).” data-gt-translate-attributes=”[{“attribute”:”data-cmtooltip”, “format”:”html”}]” tabindex=”0″ role=”link”>EST on Monday aboard a 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”}]” tabindex=”0″ role=”link”>SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from Kennedy Space Center.

Varied Research and Maintenance Activities

Despite their busy schedule, the astronaut quartet still had time for other activities including more research, Axiom Mission 3 (Ax-3) crew assistance, and lab maintenance. Mogensen explored virtual reality movies as a method to maintain crew mental health while Furukawa swapped samples inside a specialized microgravity furnace. O’Hara set up the Life Science Glovebox (LSG) for an Ax-3 physics study as Moghbeli serviced life support components.

Mozambique's Bazaruto Archipelago

A portion of Mozambique’s Bazaruto Archipelago, a national park created to protect marine wildlife, on the southern coast of the African nation is pictured from the International Space Station as it orbited 261 miles above. Credit: NASA

Ax-3 Commander Michael López-Alegría and Mission Specialist Alper Gezeravcı used the glovebox and explored particle dynamics, or how solid particles and gases mix in weightlessness. Results may lead to advanced space propulsion and zero carbon emission solutions. Pilot Walter Villadei tested a new spacesuit, documented his meals, and photographed Earth’s thunderstorms. Finally, Mission Specialist Marcus Wandt tested an artificial intelligence mobile device and then supplied gas for a plasma physics study.

At the beginning of the day, Chub and Borisov had another ultrasound test as they scanned their stomachs after breakfast for a space digestion study. Chub then moved on to a fluid physics study while Borisov worked on photographic duties. Veteran cosmonaut Oleg Kononenko photographed Roscosmos biology research hardware and continued ongoing Zvezda service module inspections.

Source: SciTechDaily