Crew Studying Life Science During Hurricane Flyovers

Hurricane Matthew
Hurricane Matthew, a huge category 4 level storm, as seen from the International Space Station Oct. 3, 2016.

The International Space Station has been flying over Hurricane Matthew all week as the storm hit the Caribbean Sea and makes its way towards Florida. While the citizens of Florida braced for the hurricane’s impact, the crew researched how living in space impacts the human body.

Astronauts Kate Rubins and Takuya Onishi collected their blood samples, spun them in a centrifuge and stored the samples in a science freezer. The samples will be examined on Earth to understand the detrimental effects of living in space on bone marrow and blood cells.

Rubins also joined Commander Anatoly Ivanishin for eye checks today to explore the headward fluid shifts astronauts experience during long-term space missions. These fluid shifts increase pressure on the brain and eyes, potentially causing vision problems. The duo used a series of tools including an ultrasound to examine their eyes.

Finally, Onishi researched how microgravity affects microbes living inside humans, possibly upsetting the immune system. The Japanese astronaut also worked on a device that enables materials to burn safely at high temperatures for combustion research.

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