Astronauts Peggy Whitson and Shane Kimbrough called down to Houston and welcomed football fans to Super Bowl LI festivities. Credit: NASA/James Blair
A pair of NASA astronauts on the International Space Station called down to Houston today as the city gets ready to host Super Bowl LI on Sunday. Johnson Space Center officials, media and visitors gathered at Space Center Houston to hear Expedition 50 Flight Engineer Peggy Whitson and Commander Shane Kimbrough welcome everyone as NASA participates in Super Bowl festivities this week.
As NASA and the city of Houston welcome football fans, the Expedition 50 crew aboard the International Space Station continued advanced space research to benefit humans on Earth and in space.
The astronauts explored how the immune system adapts in outer space by collecting their biological samples for the Multi-Omics study. The experiment, which began in March 2015 when the One-Year mission began, is researching gut microbes and metabolism to determine how living in space affects the human immune function.
Scientists and engineers are using the station as a platform to explore technologies for removing space debris from Earth orbit and returning samples from planetary surfaces. The crew members set up tiny internal multi-use satellites known as SPHERES to demonstrate capturing a space object and tugging it. Researchers are testing software to improve computer models to make space safer from space junk and improve planetary science.
NASA astronaut Scott Kelly speaks to friends, family and NASA officials shortly after arriving in Houston early Thursday morning. Behind Scott from left are, Dr. Jill Biden, Second Lady of the United States; Mark Kelly, former astronaut and Scott’s twin brother; Dr. John Holdren, Director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy; Charlie Bolden, NASA Administrator; and Ellen Ochoa, Johnson Space Center Director. Credit: NASA TV
Just before 2:30 a.m. EST Thursday, NASA astronaut Scott Kelly landed at Houston’s Ellington Field, marking his return to the U.S. following an agency record-setting year in space aboard the International Space Station.
Those on hand to greet him in Houston included Second Lady of the United States Dr. Jill Biden, Assistant to the President for Science and Technology Dr. John P. Holdren, NASA Administrator Charles Bolden, and Kelly’s identical twin brother and former NASA astronaut Mark Kelly.
Scott Kelly returned to Earth March 1, along with his one-year mission crewmate, Russian cosmonaut Mikhail Kornienko, and cosmonaut Sergey Volkov.