Three Expedition 59 crewmembers are less than one week away from completing their 204-day mission aboard the International Space Station. In the meantime, space research continues into advanced life support systems and nanoparticle therapies for Alzheimer’s disease.
Astronauts Anne McClain and David Saint-Jacques collected and stowed their biological samples for the Probiotics human research experiment this morning. The study from the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency is researching the consumption of beneficial bacteria, or probiotics, to promote healthy intestines and immune systems in space.
The two flight engineers are also packing cargo and personal items for return to Earth inside the Soyuz MS-11 crew craft. Commander Oleg Kononenko will lead the duo home inside the Russian spaceship for a June 24 landing in Kazakhstan. The threesome blasted off Dec. 3 and docked to the station’s Poisk module about six hours later inside the same Soyuz vehicle.
NASA TV will cover all the homecoming activities live beginning Sunday at 3:35 pm. EDT with the Change of Command Ceremony. Monday’s crew farewell and hatch closing will be at 4:10 p.m. with Soyuz undocking at 7:25 p.m. The Soyuz vehicle will fire its engines one last time at 9:55 p.m., followed by a parachute-assisted a landing in Kazakhstan on Monday at 10:48 p.m. EDT (Tuesday 8:48 a.m. Kazakh time).
NASA is evaluating technologies for a lightweight, advanced life support system that can recover water and remove carbon dioxide in space. Flight Engineer Nick Hague is supporting that research today with more Capillary Structures work. Hague is using specialized hardware to demonstrate the flow of fluid and gas mixtures using surface tension and fluid dynamics.
NASA Flight Engineer Christina Koch is helping doctors on Earth target therapies for diseases such as Alzheimer’s and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). She collected samples from a temperature-controlled experiment facility and stowed them in a science freezer for analysis on Wednesday. The research is exploring manufacturing nanoparticles that target a disease’s underlying cause rather than its symptoms.