Enlarge / Christina Koch, NASA's final long-stay astronaut, might be internet hosting many pizza evenings.
On Wednesday morning, NASA introduced that Christina Koch, already dwelling on the Worldwide House Station, was going to increase her 328-day mission. In doing so, she’s going to grow to be the second astronaut of the house company to spend almost a yr contained in the laboratory in orbit.
"It's nice," Koch mentioned in a video interview of the station. "I knew it was a chance for a very long time, and it's a dream come true to know that I can proceed to work on this system that I've loved a lot all my life, maintain going there." to contribute, to present the most effective of myself so long as potential is an actual honor and a dream come true. "
Koch arrived on the station on March 14 with Aleksey Ovchinin and Nick Hague. On account of the calendar adjustment, she is anticipated to stay in orbit till February 2020, when she’s going to return to a Soyuz spacecraft with NASA astronaut Luca Parmitano and cosmonaut of Roscosmos. Alexander Skvortsov. In doing so, Koch will set a file for the longest house flight of a girl, exceeding the 288 days that Peggy Whitson of NASA has spent in house from 2017 to 2018.
His mission will virtually match the period of Scott Kelly of NASA, who spent 340 days in house between March 2016 and March 2016. Despite the fact that it was not 365 days, NASA had sufficient time to current Kelly's flight as "a Mission 12 months." Against this, Koch's flight is termed "prolonged" aboard the practice station, the place the will increase often final about six months. One other NASA astronaut, Andrew Morgan, may even spend about 9 months in July 2019 subsequent spring.
Results on well being
No matter its title, Koch's keep in house ought to be lengthy sufficient to permit NASA to gather extra information on the threats posed by long-haul flights to the well being and efficiency of astronauts . A complete research of Kelly and her twin Mark, who remained on Earth, raised troubling considerations about DNA injury and cognitive decline throughout long-term flight.
With a 3rd and fourth US mission extending over 250 days, NASA scientists mentioned they hoped to higher perceive these threats and perceive how the human physique can adapt and meet the challenges microgravity. The researchers additionally hope to develop measures to counteract the consequences of weightlessness, in order that astronauts who go to different worlds, akin to Mars, are wholesome after they attain the floor.
These considerations have led some house flight consultants to say that NASA ought to discover extra environment friendly and sooner methods to ship people to Mars, as an alternative of the present six to nine-month journey utilizing know-how. present. Some have recommended that NASA ought to design spacecraft able to producing synthetic gravity, though the company at the moment has no plans on this space. Others mentioned that the journey needed to go sooner, with higher propulsion.
To this finish, NASA lately relaunched a nuclear thermal propulsion program in its Marshall House Flight Heart. A sooner journey would imply much less time in house, uncovered to weightlessness and much – house radiation, and more healthy astronauts, each for his or her actions. exploration and later in life after their return to Earth.