A full day of eye research and treadmill maintenance kept the Expedition 66 crew members busy on Tuesday. Two crew mates also had a light duty day aboard the International Space Station ahead of their return to Earth at the end of the month.
Three astronauts worked throughout the day continuing to research how living in space affects eye structure and visual function. NASA Flight Engineers Raja Chari and Kayla Barron were assisted by ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut Matthias Maurer in the Kibo laboratory module to help doctors understand why some astronauts have reported vision issues in microgravity and after returning to Earth. Results may help doctors develop treatments for eye conditions experienced by astronauts and Earthlings.
NASA Flight Engineer Tom Marshburn spent Tuesday working in the Tranquility module servicing the COLBERT treadmill. He started with a visual inspection before aligning components on the exercise device to ensure it remained centered inside Tranquility. COLBERT was delivered to the orbital lab over 12 years ago aboard space shuttle Discovery.
Two crew members had minimal duties on Tuesday as they near the end of their 355-day mission. NASA Flight Engineer Mark Vande Hei and Roscosmos Flight Engineer Pyotr Dubrov are due to return to Earth on March 30 just 10 days short of a one-year stay on the space station. Vande Hei set up a camera for an ongoing archaeological experiment aboard the station while Dubrov conducted inspections in the Russian segment. The duo will ride alongside Commander Anton Shkaplerov, who has been aboard the station since October, inside the Soyuz MS-19 crew ship.
Shkaplerov will be completing his fourth space station mission, while Vande Hei will land with the NASA single spaceflight record surpassing astronaut Scott Kelly’s record of 340 days set back in 2016. Dubrov will be completing his first spaceflight.
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