Medicine and Mice Research All Week Long for Astro-Scientists

ISS – Expedition 55 Mission patch.

April 16, 2018

Scientists on the ground and in space this week are exploring a wide variety of phenomena affecting humans living in space. The ongoing life science aboard the International Space Station is designed to improve astronauts’ health in space and benefit people on Earth.

Image above: The clear blue waters surrounding the islands of the Bahamas were pictured April 4, 2018 from an Expedition 55 crew member aboard the space station. Image Credit: NASA.

Medicine plays an important role in an astronaut’s health and doctors want to know more about how drug therapies work in space. NASA Flight Engineer Drew Feustel supported the medicine research today and injected human tissue samples with a drug compound for the Metabolic Tracking study. Those samples will be incubated then frozen before returning to Earth to be analyzed. Results may help the pharmaceutical industry design better, cheaper drugs for humans on Earth and in space.

Japanese astronaut Norishige Kanai is tending to mice today, cleaning their habitats and preparing for a week-long run of the Mouse Stress Defense experiment. The Expedition 55 crew and doctors on Earth are observing the mice to understand the processes leading to muscle and bone loss in microgravity. Researchers are testing therapies that may prevent the physiological signals and stresses in space that lead to a weakened musculoskeletal system.

Other important space research taking place throughout the week will look at how plants grow off Earth possibly sustaining future crews and improving Earth agriculture. The crew will also test the new Miniature Exercise Device-2 for providing a range of motion and resistance exercise while taking up less space aboard the station.

Image above: Sunset over South Pacific Ocean, seen by EarthCam on ISS, speed: 27’622 Km/h, altitude: 407,76 Km, image captured by Roland Berga (on Earth in Switzerland) from International Space Station (ISS) using ISS-HD Live application with EarthCam’s from ISS on April 16, 2018 at 17:22 UTC.

More external cargo operations took place outside the SpaceX Dragon resupply ship over the weekend. Robotics controllers remotely operating the Canadarm2 stowed a failed pump flow control sub-assembly (PFCS) in Dragon’s trunk ahead of a May spacewalk. That spacewalk will see two astronauts work outside the station to relocate a series of spare sub-assemblies for functional testing.

Related links:

Metabolic Tracking: https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/research/experiments/explorer/Investigation.html?#id=7517

How plants grow off Earth: https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/research/experiments/explorer/Investigation.html?#id=7524

Miniature Exercise Device-2: https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/research/experiments/862.html

SpaceX Dragon: https://www.nasa.gov/spacex

Expedition 55: https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/expeditions/expedition55/index.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/Orbiter.ch Aerospace/Roland Berga.

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