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NASA, SpaceX Crew-5: Science experiments aboard the six-month mission

The NASA SpaceX Crew-5 mission will conduct many science experiments on the International Space Station during the six-month-long mission. Here are some of the investigations flying with the astronauts.

NASA astronaut and Expedition 62 Flight Engineer Andrew Morgan with the Bio-Fabrication Facility (BFF), a 3D bioprinter. (Image credit: NASA)

NASA and SpaceX have postponed the launch of the Crew-5 mission to the International Space Station (ISS) due to Hurricane Ian and now the mission is scheduled to launch no earlier than 9.53 PM IST on October 4. Crew members include NASA astronauts Josh Cassada and Nicole Mann, Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) astronaut Koichi Wakata and Roscosmos cosmonaut Anna Kikina. Here are some of the science experiments that will be conducted aboard ISS during the six-month mission.

A Canadian astronaut wearing a Bio Monitor shirt device during a previous mission. (Image credit: NASA)

CARDIOBREATH

CARDIOBREATH is a science investigation designed by the Canadian Space Agency (CSA). It will examine how the cardiorespiratory systems of astronauts in space are deconditioned and how it affects the control of blood pressure. Crew members will wear a custom-fitted “Bio-Monitor” shirt that tracks their heart rate, blood pressure, breathing rate, and activity level before, during and after exercise.


These results will be compared to measurements taken before and after the mission to deduce the changes that spaceflight makes to astronauts’ cardiovascular, respiratory, and musculoskeletal systems. The research findings could give insights into how blood pressure control adapts and would help develop ways to keep astronauts healthier during spaceflight. Since some bodily changes that occur during spaceflight are similar to those that happen when humans age on Earth, the research could also help improve the health of ageing patients.

NASA astronaut Jessica Meir sets up for the MVP Cell-03 investigation, which induced stem cells to generate heart precursor cells. (Image credits: NASA)

Bioprinting in space

During the Crew-5 mission, an advanced BioFabrication Facility (BFF) will return to the space station on its second trip. During its first in 2019, the BFF was used to print a partial human knee meniscus and a large volume of human heart cells.

The microgravity environment of the space station allows scientists to print tissue samples of higher quality than those printed on Earth. These 3D bioprinting technologies are aimed at alleviating the organ transplant shortage by printing replacement organs and tissues based on demand.

A diagram of the device that will be used to study the behaviour of liquids in a microgravity environment. (Image credit: NASA)

Studying liquid behaviour in microgravity

Liquid behaviour is a JAXA investigation that will explore how liquids behave in gravitational environments different from that of Earth. Scientists have previously conducted liquid experiments in gravity but according to NASA, this will be the first direct observation of liquid behaviour in environments that simulate the gravity of the Moon and Mars. The results from this experiment will contribute to the design of future space exploration systems like lunar rovers, life support systems and rocket fuel tanks.

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First published on: 29-09-2022 at 12:49:16 pm
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