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Gravity of Aging: ISS Crew’s Innovative Research Before Resupply Mission

An aurora dances in the horizon of Earth’s atmosphere as city lights shine through clouds cast over Mongolia while the International Space Station orbited 263 miles above. Credit: NASA

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) hosted a series of microgravity experiments on Wednesday, November 29 investigating how the human body adapts to weightlessness and ways to live and work off the Earth. The Expedition 70 crewmembers also continued preparing for a cargo mission and then conducted an emergency drill.

Aging Research in Space

More aging research was underway aboard the orbital lab today as 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 astronaut Jasmin Moghbeli processed samples inside the Kibo laboratory module for the Space AGE study. The biology work took place in Kibo’s Life Science Glovebox and may provide better insights into the aging process on cells and its effects on disease mechanisms both on Earth and in space.

ISS Configuration November 29 2023

International Space Station Configuration on November 29, 2023. Five spaceships are parked at the space station including the SpaceX Dragon cargo spacecraft, the SpaceX Dragon Endurance crew spacecraft, Northrop Grumman’s Cygnus space freighter, the Soyuz MS-24 crew ship, and the Progress 85 resupply ship. Credit: NASA

Medical and Technology Experiments

Working in the Columbus laboratory module, NASA Flight Engineer Loral O’Hara configured and wore portable medical gear that monitored her blood pressure for the CIPHER human research study. She conducted other research activities throughout the day including inspecting microbial detection hardware and calibrating components inside the Combustion Integrated Rack.

Circadian Rhythms and Robotic Helpers

Commander Andreas Mogensen began his day documenting his reactions to a new lighting system that may help astronauts maintain their circadian rhythms in outer space. The 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) astronaut then uploaded software for a technology experiment demonstrating how the Astrobee free-flying robotic helpers, and potentially future satellites, can rendezvous, dock, and undock autonomously.

Two Astrobee Free-Flying Robotic Assistants

Two Astrobee free-flying robotic assistants are pictured during an experiment demonstrating how the toaster-sized robotic devices can use a small robotic arm and grasp handrails to maneuver throughout the space station. Credit: NASA

Life Support and Cargo Mission Updates

Astronaut Satoshi Furukawa of 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) was back on life support duty servicing Kibo’s Internal Thermal Control System (ITCS). The ITCS cools and rejects heat from equipment ensuring a safe operating environment aboard the space station.

The Roscosmos Progress 84 resupply ship ended its cargo mission today after six months docked to the Poisk module. The uncrewed and trash-packed Progress 84 departed the station at 2:55 a.m. EDTEDT is an abbreviation for Eastern Daylight Time, the time zone for the eastern coast of the United States and Canada when observing daylight saving time (spring/summer). It is four 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”}]”>EDT and then reentered the Earth’s atmosphere above the south Pacific Ocean for a fiery, but safe demise a few hours later.

The next cargo mission to resupply the Expedition 70 crew is counting down to launch at 4:25 a.m. on Friday from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. The Progress 86 resupply ship, carrying nearly 5,600 pounds of cargo, will take a two-day trip to the orbiting lab and dock to the same port vacated by the Progress 84. Cosmonauts Oleg Kononenko and Nikolai Chub reviewed procedures today for monitoring the approaching cargo craft and practiced remotely controlling the Progress 86 if necessary.

Cosmonaut Konstantin Borisov watered plants and photographed them for a space botany study. Afterward, he checked 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 tablet computers and then worked in the Nauka science module maintaining its ventilation systems.

At the end of the day, all four astronauts joined the three cosmonauts and simulated an emergency with ground controllers practicing their roles and responsibilities during the drill. The orbital residents located emergency systems throughout the space lab while coordinating with mission controllers from around the world.

Source: SciTechDaily