Scientists aboard the International Space Station (ISS) are busy unpacking new science experiments and conducting research to understand how microgravity affects the human body. The crew members, along with teams on the ground, are currently unloading nearly 6,500 pounds of supplies and equipment that were delivered by the SpaceX Dragon cargo spacecraft.
Commander Andreas Mogensen from the European Space Agency (ESA) has been disassembling crew bags and replenishing the station with smaller cargo items. Mogensen is also involved in space botany experiments aimed at sustaining crews during long-duration space missions.
Meanwhile, mission controllers from the U.S. and Japan are coordinating robotics activities to retrieve and install science hardware from Dragon’s unpressurized trunk. The Canadarm2 robotic arm, operated remotely by U.S. engineers, extracted the new ILLUMA-T laser communications experiment, which was then handed off to the Japanese robotic arm for installation on the Kibo laboratory module.
In addition to unpacking and hardware installation, the crew members are conducting several research projects. NASA Flight Engineer Loral O’Hara is working on an investigation into the aging process, studying human cell samples to observe cell stress, metabolism, and other characteristics that may contribute to accelerated aging in space.
Astronauts Jasmin Moghbeli from NASA and Satoshi Furukawa from JAXA are collaborating on the Cell Gravisensing-2 study, which involves treating cell samples in the Kibo lab. By observing how cells respond to the lack of gravity, researchers hope to gain insights into space biology and improve treatments for ailments on Earth.
Overall, these experiments and research activities contribute to our understanding of the effects of microgravity on the human body and provide valuable insights for future long-duration space missions.
1. What is the purpose of the experiments being conducted on the ISS?
The experiments are aimed at understanding how microgravity affects the human body and finding ways to sustain crews during long-duration space missions.
2. What is the role of robotics in the cargo unpacking and hardware installation process?
Robotics, including the Canadarm2 and the Japanese robotic arm, play a crucial role in retrieving and installing science hardware delivered by the Dragon cargo spacecraft.
3. How do researchers compare cell samples cultured in space to those on Earth?
Cell samples cultured in space are compared to samples on Earth to observe differences in cell stress, metabolism, and other characteristics that may contribute to accelerated aging processes in humans.