Gravity of Aging: ISS Crew’s Innovative Research Before Resupply Mission

ISS Aurora Dances in Earth's Atmosphere

An aurora dances in the horizon of Earth’s atmosphere as city lights shine through clouds cast over Mongolia while the International Space Station orbited 263 miles above. Credit: NASA

The International Space Station (ISS) hosted a series of microgravity experiments on Wednesday, November 29 investigating how the human body adapts to weightlessness and ways to live and work off the Earth. The Expedition 70 crewmembers also continued preparing for a cargo mission and then conducted an emergency drill.

Aging Research in Space

More aging research was underway aboard the orbital lab today as NASA astronaut Jasmin Moghbeli processed samples inside the Kibo laboratory module for the Space AGE study. The biology work took place in Kibo’s Life Science Glovebox and may provide better insights into the aging process on cells and its effects on disease mechanisms both on Earth and in space.

ISS Configuration November 29 2023

International Space Station Configuration on November 29, 2023. Five spaceships are parked at the space station including the SpaceX Dragon cargo spacecraft, the SpaceX Dragon Endurance crew spacecraft, Northrop Grumman’s Cygnus space freighter, the Soyuz MS-24 crew ship, and the Progress 85 resupply ship. Credit: NASA

Medical and Technology Experiments

Working in the Columbus laboratory module, NASA Flight Engineer Loral O’Hara configured and wore portable medical gear that monitored her blood pressure for the CIPHER human research study. She conducted other research activities throughout the day including inspecting microbial detection hardware and calibrating components inside the Combustion Integrated Rack.

Circadian Rhythms and Robotic Helpers

Commander Andreas Mogensen began his day documenting his reactions to a new lighting system that may help astronauts maintain their circadian rhythms in outer space. The ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut then uploaded software for a technology experiment demonstrating how the Astrobee free-flying robotic helpers, and potentially future satellites, can rendezvous, dock, and undock autonomously.

Two Astrobee Free-Flying Robotic Assistants

Two Astrobee free-flying robotic assistants are pictured during an experiment demonstrating how the toaster-sized robotic devices can use a small robotic arm and grasp handrails to maneuver throughout the space station. Credit: NASA

Life Support and Cargo Mission Updates

Astronaut Satoshi Furukawa of JAXA (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency) was back on life support duty servicing Kibo’s Internal Thermal Control System (ITCS). The ITCS cools and rejects heat from equipment ensuring a safe operating environment aboard the space station.

The Roscosmos Progress 84 resupply ship ended its cargo mission today after six months docked to the Poisk module. The uncrewed and trash-packed Progress 84 departed the station at 2:55 a.m. EDT and then reentered the Earth’s atmosphere above the south Pacific Ocean for a fiery, but safe demise a few hours later.

The next cargo mission to resupply the Expedition 70 crew is counting down to launch at 4:25 a.m. on Friday from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. The Progress 86 resupply ship, carrying nearly 5,600 pounds of cargo, will take a two-day trip to the orbiting lab and dock to the same port vacated by the Progress 84. Cosmonauts Oleg Kononenko and Nikolai Chub reviewed procedures today for monitoring the approaching cargo craft and practiced remotely controlling the Progress 86 if necessary.

Cosmonaut Konstantin Borisov watered plants and photographed them for a space botany study. Afterward, he checked Roscosmos tablet computers and then worked in the Nauka science module maintaining its ventilation systems.

At the end of the day, all four astronauts joined the three cosmonauts and simulated an emergency with ground controllers practicing their roles and responsibilities during the drill. The orbital residents located emergency systems throughout the space lab while coordinating with mission controllers from around the world.

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