NASA’s subsequent lengthy-period spaceflight mission has already begun, and docs are enthusiastic about what it might educate them. Astronaut Christina Koch will spend nearly a year aboard the International Space Station, NASA introduced on Wednesday (April 17), along with her return journey delayed to February 2020. Throughout her 11 months in the house, she is going to monitor how her physique responds to the mission, producing lot-wanted information about how effectively human our bodies can stand up to the risks and hardships of lengthy-time period spaceflight.
Up to now, that information has been troublesome to return by. Standard area station missions last about six and a half months, and solely a handful of NASA astronauts have stayed in orbit longer than 200 days in a single spaceflight. That is problematic for a company that has its sights set on personal journeys to Mars — a six- to eight-month flight in every path — inside a decade or two. Koch’s lengthy mission in Earth orbit might provide peace of thoughts about what the impacts of such a journey could be; it might additionally make clear how men and women reply in a different way to spaceflight, NASA officers stated.
Though the prolonged mission took place to accommodate the week-lengthy go to of an astronaut from the United Arab Emirates, NASA was keen to leap on the chance of getting a crewmember on board the station for a prolonged keep.
To this point, just three NASA astronauts have remained on board the area station for more than 200 days straight. Scott Kelly holds the NASA file after a 340-day go to, Peggy Whitson accomplished a 289-day spaceflight, and Michael Lopez-Alegria flew 215 days straight. (Russia’s spaceflight program has other lengthy-time period missions below its belt, with the Soviet Union and Russia mixed having despatched a dozen males on spaceflights longer than 200 days.)
And whereas lengthy-time period spaceflight information is uncommon sufficient, medical doctors stated Koch’s mission extension might provide one thing even rarer: a greater understanding of how intercourse-based mostly variations affect a physique’s response to spaceflight. About 12% of spacefarers to this point have been women. However, men’s and women’s bodies are constructed differently and have entirely different chemical balances.