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Unlocking the Secrets of Bone Loss in Zero Gravity

NASA astronaut and Expedition 70 Flight Engineer Jasmin Moghbeli is pictured inside the International Space Station’s Destiny laboratory module opening a science freezer that hosts research samples for preservation and analysis. Credit: NASA

Stem cell research carried into Friday as the Expedition 70 crew members worked to wrap up an experiment that began earlier in the week. As science continued 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, a cargo craft is currently in orbit preparing to approach the orbiting laboratory for an automatic docking scheduled for the early morning hours on Saturday.

Two cosmonauts, Flight Engineers Oleg Kononenko and Nikolai Chub, are gearing up to be on duty monitoring the automated docking of the Progress 87 cargo craft, which launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan at 10:25 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 Wednesday, February 14. Loaded with nearly three tons of food, fuel, and supplies, Progress is scheduled to dock to the station at 1:12 a.m. Saturday, February 17. Kononenko and Chub spent Friday preparing for the upcoming cargo delivery by reviewing telerobotically operated rendezvous unit (TORU) procedures, which allows them to remotely control an arriving spacecraft in the unlikely event it could not automatically dock.

Pamir Mountains From Space

A portion of the Pamir Mountains, a mountain range at the northwest junction of the Himalayas and crossing several Central Asia countries, is pictured from the International Space Station as it orbited 261 miles above Uzbekistan. Credit: NASA

Ongoing Experiments in Microgravity

In the Kibo Laboratory, another day of stem cell research was underway for four orbital residents. Throughout the morning, 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 Loral O’Hara, with assistance 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) Flight Engineer Satoshi Furukawa, processed samples inside the Life Sciences Glovebox for the Microgravity Associated Bone Loss-A (MABL-A) investigation. The duo carried out the experiment to help scientists assess the effects of microgravity on bone marrow stem cells, which may provide a better understanding of space-caused bone loss and aging-related bone conditions on Earth.

NASA astronaut Jasmin Moghbeli, with assistance 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) Commander Andreas Mogensen, then took over the work with MABL-A, sampling additional stem cells throughout the afternoon.

Port of Tianjin, China, on the Bohai Sea From Space

The port of Tianjin, China, on the Bohai Sea, a city with a population of over 13.8 million and known for its high scientific output, is pictured from the International Space Station as it orbited 262 miles above. Credit: NASA

Maintenance and Additional Research

O’Hara also spent some time conducting maintenance in the Bishop Airlock. Furukawa removed old and installed new CO2 units in Kibo’s gas supply equipment, Moghbeli conducted some orbital plumbing, and Mogensen analyzed some bacteria samples that were collected earlier in the week.

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”}]” tabindex=”0″ role=”link”>Roscosmos segment, Flight Engineer Konstantin Borisov ran a distillation cycle on the water processing unit. Later on, he conducted an experiment to analyze Earth’s nighttime atmosphere in near-ultraviolet.

Source: SciTechDaily