Wed. Nov 29th, 2023
    New Discoveries and Endeavors in Space Exploration

    Amid a flurry of scientific activities, the International Space Station (ISS) continues to push the boundaries of space exploration. The arrival of SpaceX’s Dragon cargo spacecraft last weekend has fueled the enthusiasm of the Expedition 70 crew and robotics ground controllers, setting the stage for a series of groundbreaking experiments.

    One notable research endeavor involves the study of age-related liver dysfunction and regeneration. Flight Engineer Loral O’Hara, a NASA astronaut, carried out an experiment that involved processing liver tissue samples in the Life Sciences Glovebox. This research sheds light on the biology of aging and its impact on disease mechanisms, potentially opening doors to new treatment approaches.

    In a bid to unravel the mysteries of our planet’s upper atmosphere, engineers remotely controlled the Canadarm2 robotic arm to extract the Atmospheric Waves Experiment (AWE) payload from Dragon’s unpressurized trunk. Once mounted onto the exterior of the ISS, AWE will monitor and track small-scale atmospheric gravity waves, contributing to a better understanding of space weather and its effects on communication and navigation systems.

    Meanwhile, the quest to inhibit microbial growth has led Commander Andreas Mogensen of the European Space Agency (ESA) to deploy antimicrobial placards throughout the ISS. This four-month investigation aims to test a coating that can effectively combat microbial proliferation on various surfaces within the orbiting laboratory.

    Other crew members have also been busy conducting vital experiments. Astronaut Satoshi Furukawa of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) has been studying the impact of microgravity on cell response through the Cell Gravisensing-2 study, using a microscope to observe cell samples. This research contributes to our understanding of the effects of gravity (or the lack thereof) on cellular behavior.

    Among the cosmonauts, Flight Engineer Konstantin Borisov has been diligently observing Earth’s nighttime atmosphere in near-ultraviolet light, providing valuable data for future repairs and equipment placement. Flight Engineer Oleg Kononenko has been inspecting hardware in the Nauka module, while Flight Engineer Nikolai Chub has focused on investigating the behavior of liquid phases in microgravity.

    The ISS serves as an invaluable platform for groundbreaking research and international collaboration. To stay updated on its latest activities and discoveries, follow the space station blog, @space_station and @ISS_Research on social media platforms, and check out the ISS Facebook and Instagram accounts. Weekly video highlights can be found at For regular updates from NASA, subscribe at

    Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

    1. What is the ISS?

    The ISS, or International Space Station, is a habitable space station that serves as a research laboratory and observatory in low Earth orbit. It is a joint endeavor involving multiple space agencies, including NASA, ESA, Roscosmos, JAXA, and CSA.

    2. What kind of research is conducted on the ISS?

    Research on the ISS spans a wide range of scientific disciplines, including biology, physics, astronomy, and human physiology. Studies conducted onboard the ISS help scientists understand the effects of long-duration space travel on the human body, explore the behavior of materials in microgravity, and investigate phenomena related to Earth’s atmosphere and climate.

    3. How does the Canadarm2 robotic arm contribute to space research?

    The Canadarm2 robotic arm is a crucial asset for the ISS and its research activities. It enables astronauts and ground controllers to perform external maintenance tasks, capture and release visiting spacecraft, and deploy scientific payloads. The arm’s versatility and precision greatly enhance the productivity and success of space missions.

    4. What is the significance of studying microgravity on cell response?

    Studying how cells respond to microgravity conditions helps scientists decipher the impacts of space travel on human health and enables the development of effective countermeasures. By understanding these mechanisms, researchers can work towards mitigating the negative effects of extended stays in space and improving astronaut well-being.

    – NASA website: