The astronauts aboard the International Space Station (ISS) experienced an eventful week. Apart from mobilizing to contain a small air leak discovered on the Russian side of the orbiting laboratory, as reported recently by Inquisitr Expedition 56 was busy with pioneering scientific experiments.
All their hard work has paid off, as NASA was pleased to report that the crew had an amazing breakthrough this past week.
One of the scientific experiments currently taking place at ISS is Biomolecule Extraction and Sequencing Technology (BEST), a project aimed at investigating how life in weightlessness affects the invisible microbes inside the space station.
The experiment took place on May 24 over the Orbital ATK-launched Cygnus supply vehicle aboard the outpost, now Northrop Grumman. The goal of this research is to examine how microbes respond to weightlessness and whether spaceflight affects the way they mutate [Inquisitr before the launch of the spacecraft.
BEST intends to use a specialized sequencing technique to identify unknown microbes that live aboard the ISS and can not be detected by current methods.
The experiment also aims to evaluate possible microbial mutations that may occur as a result of space flight and. English: RNA ̵
The latter was not achieved until the beginning of the week, when US astronaut Ricky Arnold successfully sequenced RNA in space. The very first time.
"This week NASA astronaut Ricky Arnold was the first person to sequence RNA in space, another molecular milestone en route to the orbiting laboratory," Space Agency officials said Aug. 31.
The highpoints of the space station: Week of August 27, 2018. #station #iss https://t.co/ vQuCsVdvQM This week, NASA astronaut Ricky Arnold was the first human RNA in space sequenced another molecular milestone aboard the orbiting laboratory.
– SciTech FliX (@SciTechFliX) August 31, 2018
During the successful sequencing of DNA was already performed aboard the space station in August 2016, this is the first time anyone performed the same operation on RNA Has.
"Within the first few minutes, more than 15,000 RNA molecules were sequenced, matching and outperforming many bottom sequencing runs, and took 48 hours to complete," NASA reported.
This momentous achievement was described by NASA senior communications specialist Isidro Reyna as a "historic milestone," stating that the BEST experiment has the potential to transform a game for exploring the crew's health and understanding how organisms react to space flights. "
In the video below, Reyna explains that the BEST project can help researchers understand all kinds of organisms, from microbes and plants to astronauts living and working in space, adapting to the living conditions aboard the ISS.
As Reyna points out, this research can give "a better insight" into the kind of technologies we need to develop for future human explorations in both space and other locations of the solar system.