Page 2: Science and End of Mission
The crew could spend 300 hours working with U.S., Russian and ISS Partner experiments. The fields covered by the experiments include life sciences, physics and chemistry, and their applications in materials and manufacturing processes.
The Station is also used to study the Earth -- its environment, climate, geology, oceanography and more. Earth observations are expected to occupy a relatively large share of this crew's time for scientific activity.
Image right: The Expedition 9 crew patch represents the spirit of exploration and international cooperation.
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The Expedition 9 crew's science schedule is flexible and will be set as time permits. Even though the lack of Space Shuttle flights has limited the number of new experiments arriving at the Station, Fincke said there is still a lot of work to be done.
"We'll be doing a lot of life sciences, to see how humans react and live in space, the effects of long-term exposure to space on [humans] and some proposed countermeasures," he said. "We're looking into materials science and looking into how materials react and change in space.
"There are fundamental fluid mechanics problems that we're solving with ingenious contraptions that are easy to operate and give real-time data back to the scientists on the ground. It's very impressive, the complement that we're being able to put together, given the short amount of time and the small amount of cargo that we actually have."
Image left: Expedition 9 NASA ISS Science Officer Mike Fincke participates in a science payload training session at Johnson Space Center in Houston.
Their tour of duty is scheduled to end in October when the Expedition 10 crewmembers -- Commander Leroy Chiao and Flight Engineer Salizhan S. Sharipov -- replace them.
Expedition 10 is scheduled to launch from Baikonur on Oct. 9 and dock Oct. 11. Padalka and Fincke are slated to undock and return to Earth on Oct. 19.
Fincke hopes that in addition to successfully completing the mission's objectives, the crew inspires the next generation of explorers.
"The people who landed on the moon inspired me, and have shaped my life in a way that I ... could have never expected, and here I am, " he said. "And we're hoping that we show on our mission the value of working together, the value of teamwork, the value of knowing one's job, and a good work ethic, so that when other people watch us, the next generation of explorers who are going to be the ones that are walking on Mars, that we've shown them ... how to do it and how they can somehow, in their lives, achieve that dream."
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