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NASA A pair of roseate spoonbills add a pop of color to this image taken Sept. 13, 2005, in the Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge, northwest of Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Spoonbills like this female (left) and male duo inhabit areas of mangrove such as on the coasts of southern Florida and Texas. These birds feed on shrimps and fish in the shallow water, sweeping their bills from side to side.
This and other wildlife abound throughout Kennedy as it shares a boundary with the Wildlife Refuge, home to some of the nation’s rarest and most unusual species of wildlife. The wildlife refuge is a habitat for more than 310 species of birds, 25 mammals, 117 fishes and 65 amphibians and reptiles.
Image Credit: NASA
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A Commercial Lander Touches Down on the Moon on This Week @NASA – February 23, 2024
NASA Astronauts Aboard Space Station Huddle Up for Super Bowl
The Axiom Mission 3 crew aboard the International Space Station, pictured from left to right: Marcus Wandt, Michael López-Alegría, Alper Gezeravci, and Walter Villadei. Credits: Axiom Space The third private astronaut mission to the International Space Station successfully completed its journey as part of NASA efforts to create commercial opportunities in space. Axiom Mission 3 (Ax-3) and its four crew members safely returned to Earth Friday, splashing down off the coast of Daytona, Florida.
Axiom Space astronauts, Michael López-Alegría, Walter Villadei, Marcus Wandt, and Alper Gezeravci returned to Earth aboard a SpaceX Dragon spacecraft at 8:30 a.m. EST, completing their nearly 22-day mission that included 18 days aboard the space station. Teams aboard SpaceX recovery vessels retrieved the spacecraft and astronauts.
“Low Earth orbit is now within humanity’s economic sphere of influence. It presents the best opportunities for the U.S. commercial space sector to capture new global and domestic markets and to provide critical capabilities to the nation’s space objectives,” said Phil McAlister, director of NASA’s commercial space division at NASA Headquarters in Washington. “This ground-breaking Ax-3 mission is part of a larger effort, enabled by NASA, to open space to more people, more research, and more opportunities as the agency prepares for the transition to future private space stations at the end of this decade.”
The Ax-3 mission launched at 4:49 p.m. Jan. 18 on a Falcon 9 rocket from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Approximately 37 hours later, Dragon docked to the Harmony module’s forward port. The astronauts undocked from the same port at 9:20 a.m. Wednesday, to begin the trip home.
The crew spent over two weeks conducting microgravity research, educational outreach, and commercial activities. The spacecraft returns to Florida for inspection and processing at SpaceX’s refurbishing facility at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station, where teams will examine the spacecraft’s data and performance throughout the flight. Throughout their mission, the astronauts conducted over 30 science experiments, and returned science, including NASA cargo, back to Earth.
Supporting private astronaut missions is part of NASA’s strategy to create a vibrant commercial economy in orbit where the agency will become just one of many customers.
The Ax-3 mission embodies the culmination of NASA’s efforts to foster a commercial market in low Earth orbit and continue a new era of space exploration that enables more people and organizations to fly multiple mission objectives. This partnership expands the arc of human spaceflight history and opens access to low Earth orbit and the International Space Station to more people, science, and commercial opportunities.
Learn more about how NASA is supporting a space economy in low-Earth orbit:
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Preparations for Next Moonwalk Simulations Underway (and Underwater)
Studies of neurological organoids, plant growth, and shifts in body fluids are among the scientific investigations that NASA astronauts Matthew Dominick, Michael Barratt, Jeanette Epps, and Tracy C. Dyson will help support aboard the International Space Station as part of Expedition 71. The crew members are targeting launch to the space station in February and March.
Here are details on some of the work scheduled during this upcoming expedition aboard the microgravity laboratory:
Human Brain Organoid Models for Neurodegenerative Disease & Drug Discovery (HBOND) studies the mechanisms behind neuroinflammation, a common feature of neurodegenerative disorders. Researchers create organoids using patient-derived iPSCs (induced pluripotent stem cells) from patients who have Parkinson’s disease and primary progressive multiple sclerosis. The sixth space station organoid investigation funded by the National Stem Cell Foundation, HBond includes for the first time Alzheimer’s iPSCs and testing of the effects of drugs in development to treat neuroinflammation. Results could help improve diagnostics, provide insights into the effects of aging, accelerate drug discovery, and identify therapeutic targets for patients suffering from neurodegenerative diseases. The organoid models also could provide a way to anticipate how extended spaceflight affects the brain and support development of countermeasures.
Brain organoid cells from the previous investigation Cosmic Brain Organoids are made of cells from people with Parkinson’s Disease and primary progressive multiple sclerosis. New York Stem Cell Research Institute Protecting Plants from Spaceflight Stressors
Plants can serve as a source of food and provide other life-support services on long-term missions to the Moon and Mars. The Study on Plant Responses Against the Stresses of Microgravity and High Ultraviolet Radiation in Space (Plant UV-B) examines how stress from microgravity, UV radiation, and the combination of the two affect plants at the molecular, cellular, and whole organism levels. Results could increase understanding of plant growth in space and support improvements in plant cultivation technologies for future missions.
This image shows the Plant Experiment Unit (PEU) hardware for the Plant UV-B investigation. NASA Positive Pressure
Microgravity causes fluids in the body to move toward the head, which can cause changes in eye structure and vision known as Spaceflight Associated Neuro-ocular Syndrome (SANS) and other health problems. Mitigating Headward Fluid Shifts with Veno-constrictive Thigh Cuffs During Spaceflight (Thigh Cuff) examines whether thigh pressure cuffs could provide a simple way to counter this shift of body fluids and help protect astronauts from SANS and other issues on future missions to the Moon and Mars. Thigh cuffs also could help treat or prevent problems for patients with conditions on Earth that can cause fluid accumulation in the body, such as long-term bedrest and diseases.
A test subject wears the device for the Thigh Cuff investigation pre-flight.NASA Incredible Edible Algae
Arthrospira-C (Art-C), an investigation from ESA (European Space Agency) analyzes how the cyanobacterium Limnospira responds to spaceflight conditions and whether it produces the same quantity and quality of oxygen and biomass in space as on Earth. These microalgae, also known as Spirulina, could be used to remove carbon dioxide exhaled by astronauts, which can become toxic in an enclosed spacecraft, and to produce oxygen and fresh food as part of life support systems on future missions. Correct predictions of oxygen and biomass yields are crucial for design of life support systems using bioprocesses. Spirulina also has been shown to have radioprotective properties and eating it could help protect space travelers from cosmic radiation, as well as conserve healthy tissue in patients undergoing radiation treatment on Earth.
The container on the space station for Arthrospira-B, an investigation previous to Art-C. NASA Melissa Gaskill
International Space Station Program Research Office
Johnson Space Center
Search this database of scientific experiments to learn more about those mentioned above.
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