ISS - Expedition 50 Mission patch.
February 3, 2017
ISS - International Space Station. Image Credit: NASA
NASA is planning human spaceflight missions further out into space and is learning how astronauts adapt to life off Earth for months and years at a time. The International Space Station provides the laboratory environment for numerous studies into how the human body reacts when exposed to microgravity.
Flight Engineer Thomas Pesquet, from the European Space Agency, is wearing the new SkinSuit to study its ability to offset the effects of living in space including back pain and spine-stretching. The unique, tailor-made suit squeezes the body from the shoulder to the feet mimicking the force felt on Earth. Pesquet is evaluating the SkinSuit’s comfort, range of motion and its functionality while exercising.
Image above: The aurora is pictured as the International Space Station orbits Earth during a nighttime pass. Image Credit: NASA.
Lighting is also very important when living in space since the daily sunrise and sunset cycle that guides life on Earth no longer applies. The crew is participating in tests helping researchers understand how new station lights that can be adjusted for intensity and wavelength are affecting crew sleep patterns and cognitive performance.
The cosmonauts, Oleg Novitskiy, Andrey Borisenko and Sergey Ryzhikov, were conducting their own set of human research experiments today. The trio collected blood and saliva samples to explore how the immune system and bone mass is affected in outer space. The samples were stowed in a U.S. science freezer for later analysis on Earth.
Image above: Astronauts Peggy Whitson and Thomas Pesquet are pictured inside BEAM, the Bigelow Expandable Activity Module. Pesquet is also wearing the experimental SkinSuit. Image Credit: NASA.
BEAM was opened for a short time Thursday so the crew could install sensors inside the expandable module. The Expedition 50 space residents also explored how the body changes shape and how to prevent back pain during long-term missions.
BEAM, the Bigelow Expandable Activity Module, had its hatches opened temporarily so astronaut Peggy Whitson could install temporary sensors and perform a modal test, which has the astronaut use their fist to impart loads on the module. The sensors are measuring the resulting vibrations and how the module holds up to impacts. BEAM is an expandable habitat technology demonstration, which is a lower-mass and lower-volume system than metal habitats and can increase the efficiency of cargo shipments, possibly reducing the number of launches needed and overall mission costs.
Bigelow Expandable Activity Module (BEAM): https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/research/experiments/1804.html
Space Station Research and Technology: https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/research/index.html
International Space Station (ISS): https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/main/index.html
Images (mentioned), Text, Credits: NASA/Mark Garcia.
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