On Wednesday morning, NASA announced that Christina Koch, who already lives aboard the International Space Station, will extend her mission to 328 days. In this way, she will be the second Astronaut of the space organization, who has spent almost a year in the circulating laboratory.
"It feels great," Koch said in a video interview with the station. "I knew this was a long-term possibility, and it's really a dream to know that I can continue to work on the program that I've valued all my life to continue contributing to As long as possible Doing my very best is a true honor and a dream comes true. "
Koch and Aleksey Ovchinin and Nick Hague joined the station on March 1
Your mission will almost equal the duration of NASA's Scott Kelly 340 days in space from March 2016 to March 2 016. Although not 365 days, NASA's time was enough to market Kelly's flight as a "one-year mission." In contrast, Koch's flight is referred to as a "prolonged" stay aboard the station, with increments typically lasting about six months. Another NASA astronaut, Andrew Morgan, will also spend about nine months at the station, from July 2019 until next spring.
Whatever it is, Koch's stay in space should be long enough to gather more NASA data on the threat of long-term flights to astronauts' health and performance. An exhaustive study of Kelly and his twin Mark, who has remained on Earth, has given rise to worrisome concerns about DNA damage and cognitive decline during long-distance flight.
With a third and fourth US mission lasting over 250 days, NASA scientists have done so. They hope to better understand these threats and how the human body can adapt and respond to the challenges of weightlessness. The researchers also hope to take countermeasures against the effects of weightlessness so that astronauts visiting other worlds such as Mars are healthy on the surface.
This concern makes some astronauts say that NASA should be better or faster ways to send people to Mars, rather than the current six- to nine-month journey with existing technology. Some have argued that NASA should develop spacecraft capable of producing artificial gravity, although the agency currently has no projects in this area. Others have said that the journey must be faster with better advances.
To this end, NASA has recently resumed a nuclear thermal propulsion program at its Marshall Space Flight Center. A faster journey would mean less space-time exposure to weightlessness and space-based radiation, as well as healthier astronauts, both for their reconnaissance activities and later in life after their return to Earth.