Josh Cassada, a NASA astronaut, looks through one of the seven windows in the Cupola, the space station's "window to the world."
This week, four Expedition 68 astronauts spent the week assisting doctors in improving treatment for bone conditions on and off the Earth. The three cosmonauts living aboard the International Space Station maintained their physics research, tested spacecraft communication equipment, and performed eye exams.
Weightlessness investigates phenomena that are difficult or impossible to study in Earth's gravity environment. Scientists on the ground use the space station's facilities to study and observe these unique phenomena and provide advanced solutions to a wide range of space and Earth-bound industries.
Four astronauts on the orbiting lab are conducting a study on a bone graft adhesive that might reverse the effects of weightlessness on stem cells and bone tissue. Doctors have learned that microgravity reduces bone tissue regeneration and are exploring ways to improve bone repair while living in space.
Nicole Mann, Josh Cassada, and Frank Rubio of the NASA, as well as Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency Flight Engineer Koichi Wakata, spent the second day working on the Osteopromotive bone adhesion research. The samples are returned to Earth for evaluation and analysis and are compared to control samples maintained under similar conditions.
On Tuesday, Commander Sergey Prokopyev continued his space physics research by studying how clouds of highly charged particles, or plasma crystals, behaved in a specialized chamber. This fundamental observation may lead to further advanced research methods and improved practical knowledge for Earth and space industries.
Dmitri Petelin, an engineer at the ISS Progress 81 cargo ship, collected station air samples for analysis from the Zvezda, Zarya, Nauka, and Destiny modules on Tuesday morning. Petelin then joined Prokopyev and tested the station's tele-robotically operated rendezvous unit, or TORU, on the docked to Zvezda.
Anna Kikina, a flight engineer, started her day by building an oxygen generator and other life support components. She joined Petelin for eye exams using medical imaging equipment to investigate how living in space affects vision.