In March, American Astronaut Scott Kelly and Russian Cosmonaut Mikhail Kornienko will partner up on seven research experiments on the International Space Station (ISS) for the duration of one year.
According to NASA, “These investigations are expected to yield beneficial knowledge on the medical, psychological and biomedical challenges faced by astronauts during long-duration space flight.”
They will measure changes in functionality, behavioral/mental health, vision, metabolic processes, physical performance, microbes living in the body, and human factors such as fine motor performance and training retention.
Another group of tests will be geared toward Kelly and his twin brother, Astronaut Mark Kelly, who will stay on Earth.
“These investigations will provide broader insight into the subtle effects and changes that may occur in spaceflight as compared to Earth by studying two individuals who have the same genetics, but are in different environments for one year,” according to NASA.
Research will include the spaceflight environment’s effects on physiology (changes in different organs like the heart, muscles or brain), behavioral/mental health (perception and reasoning, decision making and alertness) and molecular behavior (the way genes in the cells are turned on and off).
Mark Kelly was as pilot of Space Transportation System (STS) 108 (Endeavour), STS-121 (Discovery), STS-124 (Discovery Commander) and STS-134 (Endeavour Commander).
Mark Kelly has also made headlines by supporting his wife, former Arizona Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, after an attempted assassination on January 8, 2011.
Scott Kelly’s NASA experience includes STS-103 (December 19 to December 27, 1999), STS-118 (August 8 to August 21, 2007) and a 159-day stay on the ISS beginning on October 7, 2010.
Typical U.S. missions to the ISS last only six months or less.
NASA’s Johnson Space Center will host a NASA Social on Thursday (Jan. 15). The Pearland Journal will be there to get the latest information.