vendredi 9 avril 2021

Exodus of civilization into space - Space man. Part 5


Space Man logo.

April 9, 2021


Here the fifth article of a series of articles by Ph.D. Morozov Sergey Lvovich, expert in chronology and calendar systems, as well as space biology and medicine, Parliamentarian of Asgardia (AMP) the first space Nation.

Ph.D. Morozov Sergey Lvovich

Space Man

Civilization has neither the strength nor the means to prevent the laws of cosmic celestial mechanics discovered by Milankovitch, and to abolish Ice Ages, periods and eras, as well as their reverse side in the form of "universal" fires, floods, epizootics, epidemics and pandemics that naturally occur in interglacial periods.

Humanity, as a species, can die from the hypothetical "Apocalypse virus" that appeared in the process of natural [or unfriendly artificial?] Selection, if it is no longer the current SARS-CoV-2 [COVID-19].

On planet Earth, civilization today has nowhere to develop extensively. The "earthly" man is forced to become a "space" man.

The author of the term "space" man is the cosmonaut-researcher SV Krichevsky. (Publication: S. V. Krichevsky.

"Space" man: ideas, technologies, projects, experience, prospects // Aerospace sphere. - 2020. - No. 1. - P. 26-35. DOI: 10.30981 / 2587-7992-2020-102-1-26-35)

Homeostatic Ark Project

This will be a total international industrialization of space (TMIK) with the aim of building flotillas of Homeostatic Arks (GC). This will be a massive Exodus of earthly civilization into the Universe.

The term "Homeostatic Ark" was first introduced by Sergey Lvovich Morozov in the articles and in the monograph:

- Morozov S.L. Homeostatic Ark as the main means in the strategy of space exploration. // Aerospace Sphere Journal (ASJ). 2018. No. 3 (96). P. 28–37 (Rus)

- Morozov S.L. The ideology of space expansion // Aerospace Sphere Journal (ASJ). 2019. No. 1 (98). S. 50-61 (Rus);

- Morozov S.L. Standard 13-month of I. Medler - D.I. Mendeleev - S.L. Morozov reference calendar and its application for the space society industrialization. Monograph / Morozov S.L. - M .: LLC "VASH FORMAT", 2019. - 260 p. (rus). ISBN 978-5-907092-99-0. CEMI RAS.

Homeostasis is self-regulation, the ability of an open system to maintain the constancy of its internal state. The desire of the system to reproduce itself, to restore the lost balance, to overcome the resistance of the external environment.

The COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic is the prototype of a planetary catastrophe and the risk of death for all humanity as a species. Today it acts as a trigger for the transition to a new, sixth socio-economic formation.

Viruses can gradually destroy the entire human civilization. This has already happened on Earth 5 times with other species of animals.

Man is just an ordinary species. One of many. On Earth, this species may well disappear after many previous species. Where did the population of the largest and largest medieval Mayan cities disappear? Nobody knows.

The Neanderthals (Homo neanderthalensis), with whom our ancient ancestors shared the planet until the last glacial maximum, 20,000 BC, all of a sudden, all died by the principle of "natural selection", possibly from an epidemic unknown to us, or pandemics.

Extinct in total in the period of 100,000 BC. approximately 9 hominid species. Neanderthals were the extreme ones. The "Denisovans" related to them inhabited Asia, while the more primitive "Homo erectus" lived in Indonesia, and the "Homo sapiens" lived in Central Africa.

Several dwarf species with small brains lived near them: Homo naledi in South Africa, Homo luzonensis in the Philippines, Homo floresiensis ("hobbits") in Indonesia, and the mysterious "cavemen (troglodytes)" in China.

Biological species and subspecies of the genus People

The mechanism of "natural selection" "organized" in the First World War a viral attack on mass concentrations of military personnel in the armies, as a biological species as a whole, in the form of a pandemic of the swine flu virus ("Spanish flu").

The H1N1 virus strain entered the American military kitchen on March 11, 1918 (from Chinese pork infected with the swine virus).

Soldiers of all the armies of the belligerent countries were simultaneously dying en masse in hospitals, not on the battlefields. There was simply no one to fight. The Spanish flu caused the end of World War I on November 11, 1918, at the height of the pandemic. At least 25 million people died.

Image above: Spanish flu mortality chart. The end of the First World War on November 11, 1918 at the height of the pandemic.

In 11500 BC. huge ice sheets in Flanders retreated, allowing plants and animals, and after them and the people who hunted them, to return (migrate) to the middle latitudes. Modern Homo sapiens survived and took up farming soon after the ice receded, creating the basis for the rise of modern civilization.

But when the polar ice sheets after that again descend into the middle latitudes under the influence of the Milankovitch cycle, a new Ice Age will begin on Earth, which can throw modern civilization on planet Earth back to the Stone Age.

The phenomenon of the Little Ice Age occurred at the turn of the Paleozoic and Cenozoic. The Cenozoic era began 65 million BC. and continues to this day.

The cold snap, which occurred at the very beginning in connection with the massive volcanic activity (volcanic winter) that opened up, cost the lives of the dinosaurs, whose thermoregulation was not adapted to significant cold ambient temperatures. There was a transformation of the basic flora (the emergence of flowering plants) and fauna, which Darwin called "natural selection."

In the Cenozoic, the most important event of earthly history took place - the niche of the disappeared dinosaurs was occupied by the first primitive hominids, a special species of viviparous mammals, from which the ancestor of ancient man turned out as a result of "Darwinian" evolution of "natural selection". He had a more perfect thermoregulation system than dinosaurs, and the most perfect process of live birth at that time.

Image above: Fauna and primitive people of North Africa during the Neolithic. Cave of the Beasts, Egypt.

The documented modern chronicle history (starting with the drawings on the walls of the caves), which can be scientifically researched, appeared no earlier than 10,000 BC. almost immediately with the beginning of the last interglacial period - a warm period, which was marked by Ecumenical fires due to the usual increase in the level of greenhouse gases during these periods (for example, modern fires in Greece, Brazil, Australia, Siberia, etc.; the death of billions of animals, insects and bees in these fires only in the last few years).

During the warm interglacial period, civilization passed the way allegorically described in the Bible "from the first man" Adam and his wife Eve and their 6 children: the sons of Cain, Abel, Seth, and the daughters of Luluva, Avana, Azura. [Genesis 5: 4].

All subsequent “antediluvian” prophets-patriarchs originated from Seth, of which Noah was the last and at the same time the first and only “post-Flood” who was saved during the Flood on the first biblical Ark in history in 3113 BC. (according to Mayan data on this event). From the date of the Flood, the Mayans have their own calendar.

The duration of this present-day warm interglacial period is hypothetically estimated in the Bible at about 7528 years, of which 5508 years are located on the time axis BC. (according to the Byzantine time scale), and 2020 years - after that on the time scale already AD.

Milankovitch cycles predetermine the geochronological history of the Earth and the productive forces of human civilization (nomadic, sedentary, industrial and informational societies).

Modern humanity, as a species, in this very short geochronological period of time of 7528 years has gone from primitive production and maintenance of fire in the Stone Age to the project of a new type of spacecraft - a homeostatic ark, the prototype of which was first described by G.K. O'Neill and which can be built in space only by advanced industrial methods.

A pair of O'Neill cylinders

The O'Neill Cylinder, known as Island III, the space station that was proposed in O'Neill's 1977 book, is a highly autonomous colony designed for a population of 10,000. The project was based on actual technology at the time, and had an estimated framework cost of $ 100 billion.

In 1985, O'Neill was appointed by US President R. Reagan to the National Space Commission. The commission, led by former NASA administrator T. Payne, proposed that the government commit to opening up the inner solar system (terrestrial planets: Mercury, Venus, Earth and Mars) for the construction of space settlements in it over the next 50 years, from 1985 to 2035 This was the first ever scientifically substantiated proposal for a state total industrialization of outer space.

But this idea of ​​O'Neill's "Exodus" in the United States in 1986 was not approved. The development of world cosmonautics followed the path of creating the ISS.

However, in 2020, the situation has changed due to the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.

Space from this moment becomes the main strategic point of application of all economic and financial forces of civilization.

Coming soon to read the continuation of the cycle "The Exodus of Civilization into Space".

Related articles:

Exodus of civilization into space - Biological End of the World. Part 4

Exodus of civilization into space - Geochronological Ice Ages, periods, eras. Part 3

Exodus of civilization into space - Astrophysical End of the World. Part 2

The ideology of space expansion - Space calendar. Part 1

Related links:

About Ph.D. Morozov Sergey Lvovich:

Original article in Russian on Zen.Yandex:

Asgardia website:

Author: Ph.D. Morozov Sergey Lvovich / Zen.Yandex. Editor / Translation: Roland Berga. 

Best regards,

NASA’s Mars Helicopter to Make First Flight Attempt Sunday


NASA - Ingenuity Mars Helicopter logo.

Apr 9, 2021

NASA’s Ingenuity Mars Helicopter is two days away from making humanity’s first attempt at powered, controlled flight of an aircraft on another planet. If all proceeds as planned, the 4-pound (1.8-kg) rotorcraft is expected to take off from Mars’ Jezero Crater Sunday, April 11, at 12:30 p.m. local Mars solar time (10:54 p.m. EDT, 7:54 p.m. PDT), hovering 10 feet (3 meters) above the surface for up to 30 seconds. Mission control specialists at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Southern California expect to receive the first data from the first flight attempt the following morning at around 4:15 a.m. EDT (1:15 a.m. PDT). NASA TV will air live coverage of the team as they receive the data, with commentary beginning at 3:30 a.m. EDT (12:30 a.m. PDT).

Image above: NASA’s Ingenuity helicopter unlocked its blades, allowing them to spin freely, on April 7, 2021, the 47th Martian day, or sol, of the mission. This image was captured by the Mastcam-Z imager aboard NASA’s Perseverance Mars rover on the following sol, April 8, 2021. Image Credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech.

“While Ingenuity carries no science instruments, the little helicopter is already making its presence felt across the world, as future leaders follow its progress toward an unprecedented first flight,” said Thomas Zurbuchen, associate administrator for science at NASA Headquarters. “We do tech demos like this to push the envelope of our experience and provide something on which the next missions and the next generation can build. Just as Ingenuity was inspired by the Wright brothers, future explorers will take off using both the data and inspiration from this mission.”

The Mars Helicopter is a high-risk, high-reward technology demonstration. If Ingenuity were to encounter difficulties during its 30-sol (Martian day) mission, it would not impact the science gathering of NASA’s Perseverance Mars rover mission.

Flying in a controlled manner on Mars is far more difficult than flying on Earth. Even though gravity on Mars is about one-third that of Earth’s, the helicopter must fly with the assistance of an atmosphere whose pressure at the surface is only 1% that of Earth. If successful, engineers will gain invaluable in-flight data at Mars for comparison to the modeling, simulations, and tests performed back here on Earth. NASA also will gain its first hands-on experience operating a rotorcraft remotely at Mars. These data sets will be invaluable for potential future Mars missions that could enlist next-generation helicopters to add an aerial dimension to their explorations.

“From day one of this project our team has had to overcome a wide array of seemingly insurmountable technical challenges,” said MiMi Aung, Ingenuity project manager at JPL. “And here we are – safely on Mars – on the eve of our first flight attempt. We got this far with a never-say-die attitude, a lot of friends from many different technical disciplines, and an agency that likes to turn far-out ideas into reality.”

Anatomy of a First Flight

Sunday’s flight will be autonomous, with Ingenuity’s guidance, navigation, and control systems doing the piloting. That’s mostly because radio signals will take 15 minutes, 27 seconds to bridge the 173-million-mile (278-million-kilometer) gap between Mars and Earth. It’s also because just about everything about the Red Planet is demanding.

“Mars is hard not only when you land, but when you try to take off from it and fly around, too,” said Aung. “It has significantly less gravity, but less than 1% the pressure of our atmosphere at its surface. Put those things together, and you have a vehicle that demands every input be right.”

Events leading up to the first flight test begin when the Perseverance rover, which serves as a communications base station for Ingenuity, receives that day’s instructions from Earth. Those commands will have travelled from mission controllers at JPL through NASA’s Deep Space Network to a receiving antenna aboard Perseverance. Parked at “Van Zyl Overlook,” some 215 feet (65 meters) away, the rover will transmit the commands to the helicopter about an hour later.

Then, at 10:53 p.m. EDT (7:53 p.m. PDT), Ingenuity will begin undergoing its myriad preflight checks. The helicopter will repeat the blade-wiggle test it performed three sols prior. If the algorithms running the guidance, navigation, and control systems deem the test results acceptable, they will turn on the inertial measurement unit (an electronic device that measures a vehicle’s orientation and rotation) and inclinometer (which measures slopes). If everything checks out, the helicopter will again adjust the pitch of its rotor blades, configuring them so they don’t produce lift during the early portion of the spin-up.

Ingenuity Mars Helicopter photos reconnaissance. Animation Credits: NASA/JPL

The spin-up of the rotor blades will take about 12 seconds to go from 0 to 2,537 rpm, the optimal speed for the first flight. After a final systems check, the pitch of the rotor blades will be commanded to change yet again – this time so they can dig into those few molecules of carbon dioxide, nitrogen, and argon available in the atmosphere near the Martian surface. Moments later, the first experimental flight test on another planet will begin.

“It should take us about six seconds to climb to our maximum height for this first flight,” said JPL’s Håvard Grip, the flight control lead for Ingenuity. “When we hit 10 feet, Ingenuity will go into a hover that should last – if all goes well – for about 30 seconds.”

While hovering, the helicopter’s navigation camera and laser altimeter will feed information into the navigation computer to ensure Ingenuity remains not only level, but in the middle of its 33-by-33-foot (10-by-10-meter) airfield – a patch of Martian real estate chosen for its flatness and lack of obstructions. Then, the Mars Helicopter will descend and touch back down on the surface of Jezero Crater, sending data back to Earth, via Perseverance, to confirm the flight.

Perseverance is expected to obtain imagery of the flight using its Navcam and Mastcam-Z imagers, with the pictures expected to come down that evening (early morning Monday, April 12, in Southern California). The helicopter will also document the flight from its perspective, with a color image and several lower-resolution black-and-white navigation pictures possibly being available by the next morning.  

“The Wright brothers only had a handful of eyewitnesses to their first flight, but the historic moment was thankfully captured in a great photograph,” said Michael Watkins, director of JPL. “Now 117 years later, we are able to provide a wonderful opportunity to share the results of the first attempt at powered, controlled flight on another world via our robotic photographers on Mars.”

More About Ingenuity

The Ingenuity Mars Helicopter was built by JPL, which also manages this technology demonstration project for NASA Headquarters in Washington. It is supported by NASA’s Science, Aeronautics, and Space Technology mission directorates. NASA’s Ames Research Center in California's Silicon Valley and NASA’s Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia, provided significant flight performance analysis and technical assistance.

At NASA Headquarters, Dave Lavery is the program executive for the Ingenuity Mars Helicopter. At JPL, MiMi Aung is the project manager and J. (Bob) Balaram is chief engineer.

JPL, which is managed for NASA by Caltech in Pasadena, California, built and manages operations of the Ingenuity Mars Helicopter.

For more information about Ingenuity: and

More About Perseverance

A key objective for Perseverance’s mission on Mars is astrobiology, including the search for signs of ancient microbial life. The rover will characterize the planet’s geology and past climate, pave the way for human exploration of the Red Planet, and be the first mission to collect and cache Martian rock and regolith (broken rock and dust).

Subsequent NASA missions, in cooperation with ESA (European Space Agency), would send spacecraft to Mars to collect these sealed samples from the surface and return them to Earth for in-depth analysis.

JPL built and manages operations of the Perseverance rover.

For more about Perseverance: and

Image (mentioned), Animation (mentioned), Text, Credits: NASA/Sean Potter/Alana Johnson/Grey Hautaluoma/JPL/DC Agle.


Hubble Takes a Spiral Snapshot


NASA & ESA - Hubble Space Telescope patch.

Apr 9, 2021

The luminous heart of the galaxy M61 dominates this image, framed by its winding spiral arms threaded with dark tendrils of dust. As well as the usual bright bands of stars, the spiral arms of M61 are studded with ruby-red patches of light. Tell-tale signs of recent star formation, these glowing regions lead to M61’s classification as a starburst galaxy.

Though the gleaming spiral of this galaxy makes for a spectacular sight, one of the most interesting features of M61 lurks unseen at the center of this image. The heart of the galaxy shows widespread pockets of star formation, and hosts a supermassive black hole more than five million times as massive as the Sun.

M61 appears almost face-on, making it a popular subject for astronomical images, even though the galaxy lies more than 52 million light-years from Earth. This particular astronomical image incorporates data from not only Hubble, but also the FOcal Reducer and Spectrograph 2 camera at the European Southern Observatory’s Very Large Telescope, together revealing M61 in unprecedented detail. This striking image is one of many examples of telescope teamwork – astronomers frequently combine data from ground-based and space-based telescopes to learn more about the universe.

Hubble Space Telescope (HST)

For more information about Hubble, visit:

Text Credits: European Space Agency (ESA)/NASA/Lynn Jenner/Image, Animation Credits: ESA/Hubble & NASA, ESO, J. Lee and the PHANGS-HST Team.

Best regards,

CASC - Long March-4B launches Shiyan-6 03


CASC -  China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation logo.

April 9, 2021

Long March-4B launches Shiyan-6 03

A Long March-4B rocket launched the Shiyan-6 03 satellite from the Taiyuan Satellite Launch Center, Shanxi Province, China, on 8 April 2021, at 23:01 UTC (9 April, 07:01 China Standard Time).

Long March-4B launches Shiyan-6 03

According to official sources, the third satellite of the Shiyan-6 series will be used to carry out space environment survey and experiments on related technologies.

Shiyan-6 satellite

Related article:

Chinese Long March 2D launches Shiyan-5

For more information about China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation (CASC), visit:

Images, Video, Text, Credits: CASC/China Central Television (CCTV)/SciNews/ Aerospace/Roland Berga.


NASA Selects Innovative, Early-Stage Tech Concepts for Continued Study


NASA logo.

April 9, 2021

JPL’s Lunar Crater Radio Telescope advanced concept is among the projects that have been selected for further research and development.

Image above:  Illustration of a conceptual radio telescope within a crater on the Moon. The early-stage concept is being studied under grant funding from the NASA Innovative Advanced Concepts program but is not a NASA mission. Image Credit: Vladimir Vustyansky.

NASA encourages researchers to develop and study unexpected approaches for traveling through, understanding, and exploring space. To further these goals, the agency has selected seven studies for additional funding – totaling $5 million – from the NASA Innovative Advanced Concepts (NIAC) program. The researchers previously received at least one NIAC award related to their proposals.

“Creativity is key to future space exploration, and fostering revolutionary ideas today that may sound outlandish will prepare us for new missions and fresh exploration approaches in the coming decades,” said Jim Reuter, associate administrator for NASA’s Space Technology Mission Directorate (STMD).

NASA selected the proposals through a peer-review process that evaluates innovation and technical viability. All projects are still in the early stages of development, with most requiring a decade or more of technology maturation. They are not considered official NASA missions.

Among the studies is a neutrino-detecting mission concept that will receive a $2 million Phase III NIAC grant to mature related technology over two years. Neutrinos are one of the most abundant particles in the universe but are challenging to study since they rarely interact with matter. Therefore, large and sensitive Earth-based detectors are best suited to detect them. Nikolas Solomey from Wichita State University in Kansas proposes something different: a space-based neutrino detector.

“Neutrinos are a tool to ‘see’ inside stars, and a space-based detector could offer a new window into the structure of our Sun and even our galaxy,” said NIAC Program Executive Jason Derleth. “A detector orbiting close to the Sun could reveal the shape and size of the solar furnace at the core. Or, by going in the opposite direction, this technology could detect neutrinos from stars at the center of our galaxy.”

Solomey’s previous NIAC research showed the technology could work in space, explored different flight paths, and developed an early prototype of the neutrino detector. With the Phase III grant, Solomey will prepare a flight-ready detector that could be tested on a CubeSat.

In addition, six researchers will receive $500,000 each to conduct Phase II NIAC studies for up to two years.

Jeffrey Balcerski with the Ohio Aerospace Institute in Cleveland will continue work on a small spacecraft “swarm” approach to studying Venus’ atmosphere. The concept combines miniature sensors, electronics, and communications on kite-like, drifting platforms to conduct around nine hours of operations in the clouds of Venus. High-fidelity simulations of deployment and flight will further mature the design.

Saptarshi Bandyopadhyay, a robotics technologist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Southern California, will continue research on a possible radio telescope within a crater on the far side of the Moon. He aims to design a wire mesh that small climbing robots could deploy to form a large parabolic reflector. The Phase II study will also focus on refining the capabilities of the telescope and various mission approaches.

Kerry Nock, with Global Aerospace Corporation in Irwindale, California, will mature a possible way to land on Pluto and other celestial bodies with low-pressure atmospheres. The concept relies on a large, lightweight decelerator that inflates as it approaches the surface. Nock will address the technology’s feasibility, including the riskier components, and establish its overall maturity.

Artur Davoyan, an assistant professor at the University of California, Los Angeles, will study CubeSat solar sails for exploring the solar system and interstellar space. Davoyan will fabricate and test ultra-lightweight sail materials capable of withstanding extreme temperatures, examine structurally sound methods for supporting the sail, and investigate two mission concepts.

Lynn Rothschild, a scientist at NASA’s Ames Research Center in California’s Silicon Valley, will further study ways to grow structures, perhaps for future space habitats, out of fungi. This phase of research will build on previous mycelia production, fabrication, and testing techniques. Rothschild, along with an international team, will test different fungi, growth conditions, and pore size on small prototypes at environmental conditions relevant to the Moon and Mars. The research will also assess terrestrial applications, including biodegradable plates and rapid, low-cost structures.

Peter Gural with Trans Astronautica Corporation in Lakeview Terrace, California, will research a mission concept to find small asteroids faster than current survey methods. A constellation of three spacecraft would use hundreds of small telescopes and onboard image processing to conduct a coordinated search for these objects. Phase II aims to mature and prove the proposed filter technology.

NIAC supports visionary research ideas through multiple progressive phases of study. In February 2021, NASA announced 16 new NIAC Phase I proposal selections. STMD funds NIAC and is responsible for developing the new cross-cutting technologies and capabilities needed by the agency to achieve its current and future missions.

For more information about NASA’s investments in space technology, visit:

Related link:

NASA Innovative Advanced Concepts (NIAC): 

Image (mentioned), Text, Credits: NASA/Clare Skelly/JPL/Ian J. O'Neill.


NASA Astronaut Mark Vande Hei, Crewmates Arrive Safely at Space Station


ROSCOSMOS - Soyuz MS-18 Mission patch.

Apr 9, 2021

Image above: The Soyuz MS-18 rocket blasts off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan carrying three Expedition 65 crew members to the space station. Image Credit: NASA TV.

NASA astronaut Mark Vande Hei and two Russian cosmonauts arrived at the International Space Station Friday, bringing its number of residents to 10 for the coming week.

Image above: The Soyuz MS-18 rocket is launched with Expedition 65 NASA astronaut Mark Vande Hei, Roscosmos cosmonauts Pyotr Dubrov and Oleg Novitskiy, Friday, April 9, 2021, at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. Image Credits: NASA/Bill Ingalls.

The Soyuz MS-18 spacecraft carrying Vande Hei and cosmonauts Oleg Novitskiy and Pyotr Dubrov of the Russian space agency Roscosmos docked to the station’s Rassvet module at 7:05 a.m. EDT. Docking occurred two orbits and about three hours after a 3:42 a.m. launch from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.

Soyuz MS-18 “Y. A. Gagarin” launch

Vande Hei, Novitskiy, and Dubrov will join the Expedition 64 crew when hatches open about 9 a.m. Expedition 65, with NASA astronaut Shannon Walker as commander, will begin Friday, April 16, upon the departure of NASA’s Kate Rubins, Roscosmos’ Sergey Kud-Sverchkov, and departing station commander Sergey Ryzhikov. The trio will land in Kazakhstan following a six-month stay aboard the orbiting laboratory.

Soyuz Crew Ship Docks to Station With Expedition 65 Trio

Image above: The Soyuz MS-18 crew ship is pictured on final approach to its docking port on the space station’s Rassvet module. Image Credit: NASA TV.

Soyuz MS-18 “Y. A. Gagarin” docking

The change of command ceremony with all crew members is scheduled for 3:45 p.m. Thursday, April 15, and will air live on NASA Television, the NASA app, and the agency’s website:

Hatches Open, 10 Crew Members Occupying Station

The hatches between the International Space Station and the newly arrived Soyuz spacecraft officially opened at 9:20 a.m. EDT as they flew 270 miles above the South Pacific. The arrival of three new crew members to the existing seven people already aboard for Expedition 64 temporarily increases the station’s population to 10.

Image above: The newly-expanded 10-member station crew gathers in the Zvezda service module for a welcoming ceremony with family members and mission officials on Earth. Image Credit: NASA TV.

They have arrived on three different spacecraft. NASA astronaut Mark Vande Hei and cosmonauts Oleg Novitskiy and Pyotr Dubrov of the Russian space agency Roscosmos arrived on the Soyuz MS-18 after a two-orbit, three-hour flight following their launch from Kazakhstan at 3:42 a.m. NASA Flight Engineer Kate Rubins arrived on the station with Commander Sergey Ryzhikov and Flight Engineer Sergey Kud-Sverchkov of Roscosmos aboard the Soyuz MS-17 spacecraft October 14, 2020. NASA astronauts Michael Hopkins, Victor Glover, and Shannon Walker, as well as Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) astronaut Soichi Noguchi, have been aboard since arriving November 16, 2020, on the SpaceX Crew Dragon Resilience.

Soyuz MS-18 “Y. A. Gagarin” hatch opening

This marks the second spaceflight for Vande Hei, the third for Novitskiy, and the first for Dubrov. During a six-month stay aboard the orbiting laboratory, the trio will work on science and research in technology development, Earth science, biology, human research, and more.

During Expedition 65, the arrival of Crew-2 aboard the SpaceX Crew Dragon will bring four more members to the International Space Station. Crew-2 is currently scheduled for launch on Earth Day, Thursday, April 22. Crew-1, the first long-duration commercial crew mission, will return to Earth on April 28.

In November 2020, the International Space Station surpassed its 20-year milestone of continuous human presence, providing opportunities for unique technological demonstrations and research that help prepare for long-duration missions to the Moon and Mars while also improving life on Earth. To date, 243 people from 19 countries have visited the orbiting laboratory that has hosted nearly 3,000 research investigations from researchers in 108 countries and areas.

Related links:

Expedition 64:

Expedition 65:



International Space Station (ISS):

Images (mentioned), Videos, Text, Credits: NASA/Sean Potter/Stephanie Schierholz/Mark Garcia/JSC/Leah Cheshier/NASA TV/SciNews.

Best regards,

jeudi 8 avril 2021

New Crew Launching Early Friday as Science Continues on Station


ISS - Expedition 64 Mission patch.

April 8, 2021

It is the day before three new Expedition 65 crew members launch and dock to the International Space Station from Kazakhstan. Meanwhile, three orbital lab residents are preparing to return to Earth while the rest of the crew studies space science and keeps the station in tip-top shape.

The Soyuz MS-18 rocket that will liftoff Friday at 3:42 a.m. EDT with one NASA astronaut and two Roscosmos cosmonauts was blessed on Thursday by a Russian Orthodox priest. The traditional ceremony takes place at the Baikonur Cosmodrome launch pad before each Soyuz crew mission.

Image above: (From left) A Russian crew ship and a Russian cargo craft are pictured docked to the station as it orbited into a sunrise above the South Pacific. Image Credit: NASA.

Two veteran station residents, Mark Vande Hei of NASA and Oleg Novitskiy of Roscosmos, will take a ride to the station with first time space-flyer Pyotr Dubrov of Roscosmos. Novitskiy will lead the short space flight to the station’s Rassvet module where the Soyuz crew ship will dock at 7:07 a.m. The hatches will open about two hours later and the trio will join seven new crewmates for a welcoming ceremony with officials on the ground. NASA TV will broadcast the launch and docking activities beginning at 2:45 a.m.

Little more than a week after the new crew’s arrival, three Expedition 64 residents will end their stay in space and land on Earth inside the Soyuz MS-17 spacecraft. NASA astronaut Kate Rubins, alongside Roscosmos cosmonauts Sergey Ryzhikov and Sergey Kud-Sverchkov, will undock from the Poisk module officially ending their mission on April 16 at 9:33 p.m. They will parachute to a landing inside their Soyuz crew ship less than three-and-a-half hours later in Kazakhstan.

Science is keeping pace aboard the space station as the crew explored biotechnology and fluid physics today. The astronauts also worked on life support systems and U.S. spacesuit components.

International Space Station (ISS). Animation Credit: NASA

NASA Flight Engineer Michael Hopkins observed protein crystal samples in a microscope for a study exploring the production of advanced medicines in space. Flight Engineer Victor Glover of NASA observed how fluids behave in microgravity to help engineers design optimal fuel tanks for satellites and spaceships.

Hopkins also serviced nitrogen and oxygen transfer gear inside the station’s Atmospheric Control System. Glover assisted NASA Flight Engineer Shannon Walker as she swapped parts on U.S. spacesuits. Finally, Japanese astronaut Soichi Noguchi installed a materials exposure study in the Kibo laboratory module’s airlock where it will soon be placed into the harsh space environment for observation.

Related article (launch event schedules):

NASA TV Broadcasts Friday Launch to Station on Soyuz Crew Ship

Related links:


Expedition 64:

Expedition 65:

Rassvet module:

Poisk module:

Production of advanced medicines:

How fluids behave in microgravity:

Materials exposure study:

Kibo laboratory module:

Space Station Research and Technology:

International Space Station (ISS):

Image (mentioned), Animation (mentioned), Text, Credits: NASA/Mark Garcia.


NASA’s NICER Finds X-ray Boosts in the Crab Pulsar’s Radio Bursts


NASA - NICER & SEXTANT Mission patch.

Apr 8, 2021

A global science collaboration using data from NASA’s Neutron star Interior Composition Explorer (NICER) telescope on the International Space Station has discovered X-ray surges accompanying radio bursts from the pulsar in the Crab Nebula. The finding shows that these bursts, called giant radio pulses, release far more energy than previously suspected.

NASA’s NICER Finds X-ray Boosts in the Crab Pulsar’s Radio Bursts

Video above: Observations from NASA’s Neutron star Interior Composition Explorer (NICER) show X-ray boosts linked in the Crab pulsar's random giant radio pulses. Watch to learn more. Video Credits: NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center.

A pulsar is a type of rapidly spinning neutron star, the crushed, city-sized core of a star that exploded as a supernova. A young, isolated neutron star can spin dozens of times each second, and its whirling magnetic field powers beams of radio waves, visible light, X-rays, and gamma rays. If these beams sweep past Earth, astronomers observe clock-like pulses of emission and classify the object as a pulsar.

“Out of more than 2,800 pulsars cataloged, the Crab pulsar is one of only a few that emit giant radio pulses, which occur sporadically and can be hundreds to thousands of times brighter than the regular pulses,” said lead scientist Teruaki Enoto at the RIKEN Cluster for Pioneering Research in Wako, Saitama prefecture, Japan. “After decades of observations, only the Crab has been shown to enhance its giant radio pulses with emission from other parts of the spectrum.”

The new study, which will appear in the April 9 edition of Science and is now available online, analyzed the largest amount of simultaneous X-ray and radio data ever collected from a pulsar. It extends the observed energy range associated with this enhancement phenomenon by thousands of times.

Located about 6,500 light-years away in the constellation Taurus, the Crab Nebula and its pulsar formed in a supernova whose light reached Earth in July 1054. The neutron star spins 30 times each second, and at X-ray and radio wavelengths it is among the brightest pulsars in the sky.

Between August 2017 and August 2019, Enoto and his colleagues used NICER to repeatedly observe the Crab pulsar in X-rays with energies up to 10,000 electron volts, or thousands of times that of visible light. While NICER was watching, the team also studied the object using at least one of two ground-based radio telescopes in Japan – the 34-meter dish at the Kashima Space Technology Center and the 64-meter dish at the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency’s Usuda Deep Space Center, both operating at a frequency of 2 gigahertz.

Animation above: Between 2017 and 2019, NASA’s Neutron star Interior Composition Explorer (NICER) and radio telescopes in Japan studied the Crab pulsar at the same time. In this visualization, which represents just 13 minutes of NICER observations, millions of X-rays are plotted relative to the pulsar’s rotational phase, which is centered on the strongest radio emission. For clarity, two full rotations are shown. As the pulsar beams sweep across our line of sight, they produce two peaks for each rotation, with the brighter one associated with greater numbers of giant radio pulses. For the first time, NICER data show a slight increase in X-ray emission associated with these events. Animation Credits: NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center/Enoto et al. 2021.

The combined dataset effectively gave the researchers nearly a day and a half of simultaneous X-ray and radio coverage. All told, they captured activity across 3.7 million pulsar rotations and netted some 26,000 giant radio pulses.

Giant pulses erupt quickly, spiking in millionths of a second, and occur unpredictably. However, when they occur, they coincide with the regular clockwork pulsations.

NICER records the arrival time of every X-ray it detects to within 100 nanoseconds, but the telescope’s timing precision isn’t its only advantage for this study.

“NICER’s capacity for observing bright X-ray sources is nearly four times greater than the combined brightness of both the pulsar and its nebula,” said Zaven Arzoumanian, the project’s science lead at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland. “So these observations were largely unaffected by pileup – where a detector counts two or more X-rays as a single event – and other issues that have complicated earlier analyses.”

Image above: The Crab Nebula, the six-light-year-wide expanding cloud of debris from a supernova explosion, hosts a neutron star spinning 30 times a second that is among the brightest pulsars in the sky at X-ray and radio wavelengths. This composite of Hubble Space Telescope images reveals different gases expelled in the explosion: blue reveals neutral oxygen, green shows singly ionized sulfur, and red indicates doubly ionized oxygen. Image Credits: NASA, ESA, J. Hester and A. Loll (Arizona State University).

Enoto‘s team combined all of the X-ray data that coincided with giant radio pulses, revealing an X-ray boost of about 4% that occurred in synch with them. It’s remarkably similar to the 3% rise in visible light also associated with the phenomenon, discovered in 2003. Compared to the brightness difference between the Crab’s regular and giant pulses, these changes are remarkably small and provide a challenge for theoretical models to explain.

The enhancements suggest that giant pulses are a manifestation of underlying processes that produce emission spanning the electromagnetic spectrum, from radio to X-rays. And because X-rays pack millions of times the punch of radio waves, even a modest increase represents a large energy contribution. The researchers conclude that the total emitted energy associated with a giant pulse is dozens to hundreds of times higher than previously estimated from the radio and optical data alone.

“We still don’t understand how or where pulsars produce their complex and wide-ranging emission, and it’s gratifying to have contributed another piece to the multiwavelength puzzle of these fascinating objects,” Enoto said.

NICER is an Astrophysics Mission of Opportunity within NASA's Explorers program, which provides frequent flight opportunities for world-class scientific investigations from space utilizing innovative, streamlined and efficient management approaches within the heliophysics and astrophysics science areas. NASA's Space Technology Mission Directorate supports the SEXTANT component of the mission, demonstrating pulsar-based spacecraft navigation.

Related links:

Neutron star Interior Composition Explorer (NICER):


RIKEN Cluster for Pioneering Research:

Kashima Space Technology Center:

Usuda Deep Space Center:

International Space Station (ISS):

Animation (mentioned), Image (mentioned), Video (mentioned), Text, Credits: NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, by Francis Reddy.

Best regards,

NASA TV Broadcasts Friday Launch to Station on Soyuz Crew Ship


ISS - Expedition 65 Mission patch.

April 8, 2021

A trio of space travelers, including NASA astronaut Mark Vande Hei, is scheduled to launch aboard the Soyuz MS-18 spacecraft from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan to the International Space Station at 3:42 a.m. EDT (12:42 p.m. Kazakhstan time) Friday, April 9.

Beginning at 2:45 a.m., NASA Television, the agency’s website, and the NASA app will provide live coverage of the crew’s launch. Teams at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan are making final preparations for the liftoff of Vande Hei and Russian cosmonauts Oleg Novitskiy and Pyotr Dubrov.

Image above: Expedition 65 crew members (from left) Mark Vande Hei, Oleg Novitskiy and Pyotr Dubrov pose for a portrait at the Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center in Russia. Image Credit: ROSCOSMOS.

The launch will send the crew members on a two-orbit, three-hour journey to the space station, where they will join the Expedition 64 crew, temporarily increasing the orbiting laboratory’s population to 10 people.

They will join NASA Flight Engineer Kate Rubins, who arrived on the station with Commander Sergey Ryzhikov and Flight Engineer Sergey Kud-Sverchkov of Roscosmos in October 2020, and the crew of the SpaceX Crew Dragon Resilience – NASA astronauts Michael Hopkins, Victor Glover, and Shannon Walker, as well as Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) astronaut Soichi Noguchi – who have been in orbit since November.

Image above: Expedition 65 crew members Russian cosmonaut Pyotr Dubrov of Roscosmos, left, Russian cosmonaut Oleg Novitskiy of Roscosmos, center, and NASA astronaut Mark Vande Hei, pose for a photo during qualification exams, Saturday, March 20, 2021, at the Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center (GCTC) in Star City, Russia, in advance of their scheduled launch April 9 from Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan to the International Space Station. Image Credits: NASA/GCTC/Andrey Shelepin.

It will be the second spaceflight for Vande Hei, the third for Novitskiy, and the first for Dubrov. The launch comes three days before the 60th anniversary of cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin’s launch to become the first human in space and the 40th anniversary of the first launch of NASA’s space shuttle.

During their six-month mission, the Expedition 65 crew will continue work on hundreds of experiments in biology, biotechnology, physical science, and Earth science aboard the International Space Station, humanity’s only permanently occupied microgravity laboratory. Work on the unique microgravity laboratory advances scientific knowledge and demonstrates new technologies, making research breakthroughs that will enable long-duration human and robotic exploration of the Moon and Mars.

Below is the crew’s launch timeline in EDT:

April 8 EDT   L-Hr/M/Sec  Event

18:05:41pm    9:37:00        Crew wakeup at Cosmonaut Hotel (time appx)
21:05:41pm    6:37:00        Crew departs Cosmonaut Hotel (time appx)
21:50:41pm    5:52:00        Crew arrives at Site 254
21:57:41pm    5:45:00        Batteries installed in booster
22:35:41pm    5:07:00        Crew suit up
22:42:41pm    5:00:00        Tanking begins
23:37:41pm    4:05:00        Booster loaded with liquid oxygen; crew meets with officials
23:56:41pm    3:46:00        Crew walkout from 254; boards bus for the launch pad

April 9 EDT

00:01:41am    3:41:00        Crew departs for launch pad at Site 31
00:37:41am    3:05:00        First and second stage oxygen fueling complete
01:11:41am    2:31:00        Crew arrives at launch pad at site 31
01:17:41am    2:25:00        Crew boards Soyuz; strapped in to the Descent module
02:07:41am    1:35:00        Descent module hardware tested
02:22:41am    1:20:00        Hatch closed; leak checks begin
02:42:41am    1:00:00        Launch vehicle control system prep; gyro activation

02:45:00am     :57:41        NASA TV LAUNCH COVERAGE BEGINS

02:57:41am     :45:00        Pad service structure components lowered
02:58:41am     :44:00        Clamshell gantry service towers retracted

03:05:00am     :37:41         NASA TV: Crew pre-launch activities played (B-roll)

03:05:41am      :37:00        Suit leak checks begin; descent module testing complete
03:08:41am      :34:00        Emergency escape system armed
03:27:41am      :15:00        Suit leak checks complete; escape system to auto
03:32:41am      :10:00        Gyros in flight readiness and recorders activated
03:35:41am      :07:00        Pre-launch operations complete
03:36:41am      :06:00        Launch countdown operations to auto; vehicle ready
03:37:41am      :05:00        Commander’s controls activated
03:38:41am      :04:00        Combustion chamber nitrogen purge
03:39:41am      :03:00        Propellant drainback
03:39:58am      :02:43        Booster propellant tank pressurization
03:41:11am      :01:30        Ground propellant feed terminated
03:41:41am      :01:00        Vehicle to internal power
03:42:06am      :00:35        First umbilical tower separates

Auto sequence start

03:42:11am      :00:30        Ground umbilical to third stage disconnected
03:42:26am      :00:15        Second umbilical tower separates
03:42:29am      :00:12        Launch command issued

Engine Start Sequence Begins

03:42:31am      :00:10        Engine turbopumps at flight speed
03:42:36am      :00:05        Engines at maximum thrust
03:42:41am      :00:00        LAUNCH OF SOYUZ MS-18 TO THE ISS
03:43:23am    +:00:42       ISS FLIES OVER THE BAIKONUR COSMODROME
03:51:27am      +8:46        Third stage separation and orbital insertion for the Soyuz MS-18 spacecraft

Related links:

NASA Television:

Expedition 65:

International Space Station (ISS):

Images (mentioned), Text, Credits: NASA/Mark Garcia.


NASA Mourns the Passing of Astronaut Philip K. Chapman


NASA logo.

Apr 8, 2021

Astronaut Philip K. Chapman. Image Credit: NASA

NASA is saddened by the death of Apollo-era astronaut Philip K. Chapman. He was selected in August 1967 to be a member of Astronaut Group 6, who were primarily scientists rather than pilots.

Chapman was the first Australian-born American astronaut. During the International Geophysical Year in 1958, he was an auroral/radio physicist at Mawson Station, Antarctica, as a member of the Australian National Antarctic Research Expeditions. Later, he was awarded a Doctor of Science in Aeronautics and Astronautics by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

After his selection to the astronaut corps, he completed one year of training at Randolph Air Force Base, Texas, and he was involved in preparations for lunar missions, serving in particular as mission scientist for the Apollo 14 mission. Dr. Chapman left the agency in 1972.

Dr. Chapman wanted to expand humanity beyond Earth: “We can build arks for societies of humans to go on multi-generational missions.”

His career after leaving NASA is reported on Wikipedia’s Chapman page. Philip Chapman died on April 5, 2021, in Scottsdale, Arizona.

In this image from 1968, Dr. Chapman trains in the Lunar Module Simulator, Centrifuge, and the Apollo Mission Simulator at the then-Manned Spacecraft Center, now Johnson Space Center. in Houston.

Related links:

Apollo 14:

Wikipedia’s Chapman page:

Image (mentioned), Text, Credits: NASA/Yvette Smith.


Satellites monitor Mount Etna’s unpredictable behaviour


ESA - Copernicus logo.

April 8, 2021

ESA's Sentinel satellites

Italy’s Mount Etna, Europe’s most active volcano, has recently been on explosive form, with 17 eruptions in less than three months. Instruments onboard three different satellites orbiting Earth have acquired imagery of the eruptions – revealing the intensity of the lava-fountaining eruptive episodes, known as paroxysms.

Located on the east coast of Sicily, Mount Etna is one of the world’s most active volcanoes. Its eruptions occur at the summit, where there are four craters: the Voragine and the Bocca Nuova, formed in 1945 and 1928 respectively, the Northeast Crater, the highest point on Etna (3330 m) and the Southeast Crater, which has recently been the most active of the four.

Starting in February 2021, the Southeast Crater produced a series of intense lava fountains colouring the night sky in hues of orange and red. Over the course of the following weeks, the volcano produced lava fountains reaching as high as 1.5 km.

Mount Etna eruptions

These spectacular explosions are amongst the highest observed at the Southeast Crater in recent decades. In the past, lava fountains reaching the same height were only observed at the Voragine crater in December 2015 – with lava fountains of over 2000 m.

Different satellites carry different instruments that can provide a wealth of complementary information to understand volcanic eruptions. Once an eruption begins, optical instruments can capture the various phenomena associated with it, including lava flows, mudslides, ground fissures and earthquakes.

The images below show the latest activity taking place in the volcano. The images, captured by the Copernicus Sentinel-2 and Sentinel-3 missions, have been processed using the shortwave-infrared band to show the ongoing activity in the crater. Smoke plumes can be seen blowing eastwards towards the town of Giarre.

Sulphur dioxide concentrations on 24 March 2021

Atmospheric sensors on satellites can also identify the gases and aerosols released by the eruption, as well as quantify their wider environmental impact. The image below, captured by the Copernicus Sentinel-5P satellite, shows the sulphur dioxide concentrations visible travelling southwards towards Libya. Sulphur dioxide is released from a volcano when magma is relatively close to the surface.

After a week or so of remaining calm, Etna’s Southeast Crater re-awoke on the morning of 31 March with a loud explosion at around 07:00 CEST, followed by several puffs of ash and lava.

According to the National Institute of Geophysics and Volcanology in Italy (INGV), the explosive activity increased in the late afternoon and during the night with lava flowing towards the Valle del Bove, with smaller flows advancing southwards. As of today, activity in the Southeast Crater remains calm.

Related links:





National Institute of Geophysics and Volcanology in Italy (INGV):

Observing the Earth:

Animation, Image, Text, Credits: ESA/Contains modified Copernicus Sentinel data (2021), processed by ESA, CC BY-SA 3.0 IGO.


Seven Ways the International Space Station Helps Us Study Plant Growth in Space


ISS - Veggie Mission patch.

Apr 8, 2021

As NASA plans long-duration missions to the Moon and Mars, a key factor is figuring out how to feed crews during their weeks, months, and even years in space.

Food for crews aboard the International Space Station is primarily prepackaged, requires regular resupply deliveries aboard cargo spacecraft, and degrades in quality and nutrition after about 18 months. But what if astronauts could grow some of their own food in microgravity? Researchers on Earth and crews aboard the International Space Station are exploring the idea by testing various crops and equipment to see if the plan could work.

Image above: NASA astronaut Peggy Whitson looks at the Advanced Astroculture Soybean plant growth experiment. Image Credit: NASA.

NASA hopes to successfully grow fresh, pick-and-eat crops that are easy to produce and do not require a lot of extra equipment or precious electrical power.

“Crews really seem to enjoy growing the food themselves,” said Howard Levine, chief scientist for NASA’s International Space Station Research Office at Kennedy Space Center in Florida. “It’s a nice reprieve from typical activities on the station, and astronauts often volunteer their free time to do it.”

Image above: NASA astronauts Shannon Walker and Michael Hopkins collect leaf samples from plants growing inside the European Columbus laboratory for the Veg-03 experiment during Expedition 64. Image Credit: NASA.

To date, NASA has grown a variety of plants, including lettuces, mustard varieties, and radishes – and learned a lot about how to successfully do so in the process.

Here are seven aspects of plant growth we are studying aboard the space station:

1) Picking the right plants

What grows well on Earth may or may not do so well in space. Before sending a crop to space, scientists must identify which plants to test aboard the space station. To improve that process, NASA started a project in 2015 with the Fairchild Botanical Garden in Miami called “Growing Beyond Earth.” The program has recruited more than 230 middle and high school science classes across the U.S. to grow different seeds using special equipment. Seeds that grow well in the classrooms are then tested in a chamber at Kennedy that closely resembles the space station’s equipment. Selected seeds that do well at Kennedy are then sent to station. How they grow in orbit can inform the selection of plants for long-duration missions nly minimal crew attention.

Radishes Growing in Space: 27 Days in 10 Seconds

2) Learning to garden in space

Plants need a place to grow, and NASA has tested out a number of facilities to host a microgravity garden. One way is by experimenting with the Vegetable Production System, or “Veggie,” which is a simple, low-power gardening chamber that can hold six crop plants. Seeds are grown in small fabric “pillows” placed in Veggie. Crews then look after and water the plants by hand, similar to caring for a window herb garden on Earth.

NASA is developing another system, called the Passive Orbital Nutrient Delivery System, or PONDS, to work with the Veggie platform. PONDS replaces the seed pillows with a new plant holder that automatically feeds and waters the produce, but still requires the crew to do some cultivation tasks.Research also uses a hands-off system called the Advanced Plant Habitat. This fully-automated device is designed to study the physiology of how plants grow in space in ways that require only minimal crew attention.

Image above: NASA astronauts Christina Koch and Jessica Meir harvested Mizuna mustard greens on Thanksgiving Day 2019 inside the VEGGIE facility for the Veg-04B experiment. Image Credit: NASA.

3) The right light

The composition of light that shines on plants can affect their size, nutritional content, microbial growth, and taste. Plants particularly rely on red and blue light to grow. Researchers ran experiments aboard the space station to see how different ratios of red and blue light influenced plant development in space. The experiments showed that plants in space grow well under the same light conditions preferred by plants on Earth. While green lights are not necessary for plant growth, they are included in plant growth systems so the plants also appear similar to those grown on Earth.

4) The influence of gravity

Changes in gravity can affect how plants grow and how many crops they yield. Plants can sense gravity using a mechanism that involves changes to calcium within their cells. Astronauts recently ran experiments aboard the space station to measure how microgravity affects these calcium levels, which could offer clues for designing improved ways of growing crops for food in space.

In the PESTO experiment, crews grew wheat plants to see how microgravity may change some of their key features. They found that microgravity alters leaf development, plant cells, and the chloroplasts used in photosynthesis, but did not harm the plants overall -- in fact, wheat plants grew 10% taller compared to those on Earth.

Station crews also successfully grew two generations of mustard plants using the Advanced Astroculture chamber for an experiment that showed the change in gravity caused seeds to be smaller and secondary branches and seed pods to grow differently. Additionally, the experiment grew soybeans from seed-to-seed in space, which produced larger plants and seeds.

Image above: NASA astronaut Victor Glover works on the Plant Water Management experiment that is exploring hydroponics as a way to sustain plants in microgravity from germination through harvest. Image Credit: NASA.

5) Water delivery

One significant challenge to growing plants in microgravity is providing enough water to their roots to keep them healthy without drowning the plants in too much water. Numerous experiments have tested a variety of methods to achieve this, including the new PONDS facility mentioned above and the Plant Water Management experiment. The water management study demonstrated a hydroponic method for providing water and air to the root zone to help them grow. Researchers are growing plants both aboard the space station and on Earth to compare how well they develop.

6) How old is too old?

Future space missions could go on for years, which means the seeds that astronauts bring along could be far from fresh by the time they need to plant them. On Earth, seeds have a decrease in viability and germination over time. But how does the age of seeds and long-term exposure to the spaceflight environment affect their ability to germinate and grow? To find out, in January 2021 NASA grew lettuce and seeds from the cabbage family (kale, mustard, and bok choi) that had been aboard the station for nearly three years. The results showed that while the lettuce seeds did not grow well compared to seeds that had been in space less time, the mustard seeds responded better than expected to the storage time in space.

Image above: Close-up view of Apogee Wheat Plants grown as part of the PESTO experiment during Expedition 4. Image Credit: NASA.

7) The human effect

Gardens need tending, of course, which means astronauts or robots have to look after the plants that are growing. NASA studied how gardening in space could contribute to the behavior and well-being of astronauts. Many astronauts reported they found caring for the plants a fun and relaxing activity.

“Taking care of plants can also help astronauts stay in touch with the life-cycles on Earth,” said Gioia Massa, a life sciences project scientist at Kennedy. Massa’s research focuses on growing plants aboard the space station.

What’s more, astronauts say the time spent gardening makes them excited to eat the fresh produce once it’s ready. The excitement motivates astronauts to creatively use the produce as ingredients in their meals, increasing their quality of life in space and boosting their morale.

Space in 4K - First Lettuce Grown and Eaten in Space

The Biological and Physical Sciences (BPS) Division of NASA’s Science Mission Directorate at NASA Headquarters in Washington provides funding for Veggie, the APH, and related investigations.

Explore more pictures of plants aboard the space station here:

Check out this list of links for more information on how NASA is researching growing plants on the International Space Station:


Mission Commander Thrives as ‘Space Gardener’:

Seed Film Brings New Way to Grow Plants in Space:

Microgravity Works Wonders With Plant Transplants:

How Does Your Space Garden Grow?:


The Shape of Watering Plants in Space:

NASA Testing Method to Grow Bigger Plants in Space:

Tupperware Takes to Space to Help Improve Astronaut Diets:

Advanced Plant Habitat

Astronauts Harvest Radish Crop on International Space Station:

Astronauts Grow Radishes in Second Advanced Plant Habitat Experiment:

NASA Initiates First Grow Out in Advanced Plant Habitat on Space Station:

Related links:

Fairchild Botanical Garden:

Growing Beyond Earth:

Vegetable Production System (Veggie):

Passive Orbital Nutrient Delivery System (PONDS):

Advanced Plant Habitat:

Advanced Astroculture chamber:

PESTO experiment:

Plant Water Management experiment:

Biological and Physical Sciences (BPS):

Space Station Research and Technology:

International Space Station (ISS):

Images (mentioned), Videos (mentioned), Text, Credits: NASA/Ana Guzman/JSC/International Space Station Program Research Office/Charlie Plain.

Best regards,