Station Biomedical and Behavioral Studies Informing Future Missions

The Earth's limb and the bright points of light of the Moon, Venus and Jupiter
The Earth’s limb and the bright points of light of the Moon, Venus and Jupiter were pictured July 2015 by astronaut Scott Kelly.

The Expedition 59 crew collected blood and breath samples today to test new biomedical gear and protect future astronauts going to the Moon and Mars. The orbital residents also participated in a pair of behavioral studies aboard the International Space Station.

The five-year-old Airway Monitoring study from the European Space Agency is analyzing exhaled Nitric Oxide in an astronaut’s breath to detect dust and other toxins. NASA astronauts Nick Hague and Anne McClain collected a series of breath samples for the health study today in the U.S. Destiny laboratory module. Future lunar or Martian astronauts could inhale dust collected in their habitats or on their spacesuits potentially inflaming their airways. Monitoring a crewmember’s airways could improve the mission environment and optimize crew health for a successful long-term mission.

David Saint-Jacques collected blood samples during the morning and placed them inside the Bio-Analyzer from the Canadian Space Agency. The new device supports the Life Science Research System and rapidly analyzes molecular and cellular properties of biomedical samples aboard the space station.

Saint-Jacques and McClain later took turns jotting down their impressions of living in a confined space environment separated from family and friends. Crew inputs from the Behavioral Core Measures study could provide insights to doctors seeking a standardized method to measure and assess behavioral health in astronauts.

Flight Engineer Christina Koch started her day taking tests for the Standard Measures study that observes a variety of cognitive functions such as memory, attention and orientation. Later, she checked out spacesuit gloves then stowed hardware from the Capillary Structures life support systems study.

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