Josh Byerly: Welcome to Space To Ground, your weekly look at what’s happening on board the ISS. I’m Josh Byerly.
This past weekend, the station crew sent down some congratulations to the cast and crew of the movie Gravity.
Astronaut Rick Mastracchio: We want to congratulate the entire production and directing team and the stars of Gravity for the honors they have earned from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
Byerly: And speaking of gravity, three crew members are about to experience it for the first time in months. Mike Hopkins, Sergei Ryazanskiy and Oleg Kotov will be returning to Earth on Monday. Landing time is set for 11:24 p.m. Eastern, and we’ll have live coverage on NASA television and nasa.gov at the times you see here. The weather at the landing site in Kazakhstan is expected to be bitterly cold with a whole lot of snow on the ground.
The crew did a lot of work this week with SPHERES Slosh.
As rockets have gotten much bigger and more complex over the years, it’s become a bit tricky to predict how all that fuel in the rocket tanks will move around. So SPHERES Slosh is helping out. The crew used two of the SPHERES satellites on board, along with some green liquid in the middle. As the satellites fly, the liquid sloshes around and is photographed by high resolution cameras. This will ultimately help create better and safer designs for future rockets.
The crew also worked on the Microbiome experiment. This may sound weird, but there are actually whole colonies of microbes growing on our bodies….and there are good ones and bad ones.
When we’re under stress, the balance of the two can get out of hand, which can lead to disease. Living in space definitely puts stress on the body, so astronauts’ microbes are sampled as part of this study. The hope is that this will lead to better detection of diseases and a better understanding of our immune system.
This week’s social media question is from Stephen Smith. He asks if all crew members have access to all parts of ISS?
Yes they do. there are Russian, U.S., European and Japanese laboratories on board that all of the crewmembers work in each day. When it comes time to eat, the crew can meet up in the Unity node, which is where the American segment meets the Russian segment. The crew also exercise throughout the station, both in the U.S. and Russian segments.
Make sure to keep sending us your questions and comments using the hashtag #spacetoground. We’ll see you next week.
Page Editor: Jerry Wright