NASA and SpaceX have postponed the launch of the Crew-5 mission to the International Space Station (ISS) due to Hurricane Ian and now the mission is scheduled to launch no earlier than 9.53 PM IST on October 4. Crew members include NASA astronauts Josh Cassada and Nicole Mann, Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) astronaut Koichi Wakata and Roscosmos cosmonaut Anna Kikina. Here are some of the science experiments that will be conducted aboard ISS during the six-month mission.
CARDIOBREATH is a science investigation designed by the Canadian Space Agency (CSA). It will examine how the cardiorespiratory systems of astronauts in space are deconditioned and how it affects the control of blood pressure. Crew members will wear a custom-fitted “Bio-Monitor” shirt that tracks their heart rate, blood pressure, breathing rate, and activity level before, during and after exercise.
While our #Crew5 crew orbits the Earth this fall, they’ll be working on @ISS_Research to keep our hearts healthy—in outer space and back on the ground: https://t.co/IFfJAgKDLY pic.twitter.com/eZmYdgd4aC
— NASA (@NASA) September 28, 2022
These results will be compared to measurements taken before and after the mission to deduce the changes that spaceflight makes to astronauts’ cardiovascular, respiratory, and musculoskeletal systems. The research findings could provide insights into how blood pressure control adapts and would help develop ways to keep astronauts healthier during spaceflight. Since some bodily changes that occur during spaceflight are similar to those that happen when humans age on Earth, the research could also help improve the health of aging patients.
Bioprinting in space
During the Crew-5 mission, an advanced BioFabrication Facility (BFF) will return to the space station on its second trip. During its first in 2019, the BFF was used to print a partial human knee meniscus and a large volume of human heart cells.
The microgravity environment of the space station allows scientists to print tissue samples of higher quality than those printed on Earth. These 3D bioprinting technologies are aimed at alleviating the organ transplant shortage by printing replacement organs and tissues based on demand.
Studying liquid behavior in microgravity
Liquid behavior is a JAXA investigation that will explore how liquids behave in gravitational environments different from that of Earth. Scientists have previously conducted liquid experiments in gravity but according to NASA, this will be the first direct observation of liquid behavior in environments that simulate the gravity of the Moon and Mars. The results from this experiment will contribute to the design of future space exploration systems like lunar rovers, life support systems and rocket fuel tanks.