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One Year Later

On March 1, 2016, veteran astronaut Scott Kelly returned from his Year in Space mission. In many ways, the adventure was just beginning.

The spaceflight part of the One Year Misson to the International Space Station ended a year ago today, but the science behind it is still moving. Astronaut Scott Kelly and Russian cosmonaut Mikhail Kornienko continue to provide samples for the data collection from their ground-breaking mission. Results are expected to to start coming later in 2017, which will help launch humanity on deep space missions.

Kelly not only commanded the International Space Station’s Expedition 46, he participated in spacewalks like this one on Dec. 21, 2015, in which Kelly and astronaut Tim Kopra successfully moved the Space Station’s mobile transporter rail car ahead of the docking of a Russian cargo supply spacecraft.

On the station in 2015, Kelly showed off his home away from home. Scott tweeted this image out with the comment: “My #bedroom aboard #ISS. All the comforts of #home. Well, most of them. #YearInSpace." 

Why was the Year In Space important? As we work to extend our reach beyond low-Earth orbit, how the human body reacts to microgravity for extended periods is of paramount importance. Not only were Kelly and his Russian counterpart monitored throughout the mission, they both continue to submit to tests and monitoring one year later to see if there are any lasting effects from their voyage aboard the station. 

Scott Kelly also a human control here on Earth, his identical twin brother and fellow astronaut Mark Kelly. Both brothers have served aboard the International Space Station, but Scott’s stay was almost twice as long as typical U.S. missions. The continuing investigations are yielding beneficial knowledge on the medical, psychological and biomedical challenges faced by astronauts during long-duration spaceflight.

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Expedition 46 Launch

The Soyuz TMA-19M rocket is launched with Expedition 46 Soyuz Commander Yuri Malenchenko of the Russian Federal Space Agency (Roscosmos), Flight Engineer Tim Kopra of NASA, and Flight Engineer Tim Peake of ESA (European Space Agency), Tuesday, Dec. 15, 2015 at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. Malenchenko, Kopra, and Peake will spend the next six-months living and working aboard the International Space Station. Photo Credit: (NASA/Joel Kowsky)

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Ground Control to Major Tim

ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut Tim Peake seen during his first spacewalk. Peake and NASA astronaut Tim Kopra  conducted a spacewalk on Jan. 15, 2016 and successfully replaced a failed voltage regulator that caused a loss of power to one of the station’s eight power channels in Nov. 2015. The pair ended its spacewalk early after Kopra reported a small water bubble had formed inside his helmet.

What Astronauts in Space Eat in a Day

There was a time when even NASA didn’t know if humans could eat in the microgravity environment of space. Thankfully for the future of long-term crewed missions, John Glenn proved that it was indeed possible when he ate applesauce from an aluminum tube while orbiting the Earth in 1962.

Since then, the research conducted at our Space Food Systems Laboratory at Johnson Space Center has resulted in improved taste, variety and packaging of foods intended for space travel. Current-day astronauts are now given a standard menu of over 200 approved food and drink items months before launch, allowing them to plan their daily meals far in advance.

So, with such a variety of foods to choose from, what does the typical astronaut eat in a day?  Here is an example from the International Space Station standard menu:

Sounds tasty, right?

However, these are only suggestions for astronauts, so they still have some choice over what they ultimately eat. Many astronauts, including Tim Kopra, combine different ingredients for meals.

Others plan to eat special foods for the holidays. Astronauts Scott Kelly and Kjell Lindgren did just that on Thanksgiving last year when they ate smoked turkey, candied yams, corn and potatoes au gratin.

Another key factor that influences what astronauts eat is the availability of fresh fruits and vegetables, which are delivered via resupply spacecrafts.  When these foods arrive to the space station, they must be eaten quickly before they spoil. Astronaut Tim Peake doesn’t seem to mind.

Nutrition is important to help counteract some of the effects spaceflight have on the body, such as bone and muscle loss, cardiovascular degradation, impairment of immune function, neurovestibular changes and vision changes. 

“Nutrition is vital to the mission,” Scott M. Smith, Ph.D., manager for NASA’s Nutritional Biochemistry Lab said. “Without proper nutrition for the astronauts, the mission will fail. It’s that simple.”

We work hard to help astronauts feel less homesick by providing them with food that not only reminds them of life back on Earth, but is also nutritious and healthy. 

Here are some unusual space food inventions that are no longer in use:

  • Gelatin-coated sandwich and cookie cubes
  • Compressed bacon squares
  • Freeze dried ice cream

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“I have taken a lot of pictures because I’ve been up here for a long time,” NASA astronaut Scott Kelly said during a recent press conference from the International Space Station. “I’ve definitely taken some good ones and some memorable ones.”

When he returns to earth Tuesday evening, Kelly will have spent 340 days aboard the ISS. While that’s not quite a year, it’s still a record for an American astronaut, and one of the longest-lasting spaceflights ever.

Kelly is not the only member of his family to visit the station. His twin brother Mark Kelly is also an astronaut, and flew multiple shuttle missions to the orbiting outpost. The twins grew up in West Orange, N.J., as the sons of police officers. “We lived a pretty exciting and adventurous life,” Scott says of his childhood.

Scott Kelly takes his images through the windows of the Space Station’s cupola module. It might give the impression that he lives and works with the Earth constantly in view, but that’s not the case. Most of the space station’s rooms are fluorescent-lit boxes. “You don’t get real sunlight,” he says.

Scott Kelly Reflects On His Year Off The Planet

Photos: NASA

Snuggle Squirrels

Turku animal shelter orphan squirrels snuggle in a donated beanie.
 
“Pipo on turvallinen paikka. Jos pikkueläin on yksinäinen ja vähän kylmettynyt, sinne on myös helppo sujauttaa lämminvesipullon joukkoon, Leyser-Kopra kertoo.

Oravat eivät kuitenkaan kohtele pipojaan hellävaraisesti, vaan kiskovat tupsut ja muut koristeet irti ensimmäisenä. Vuodessa oravien kynsissä kuluu puhki arviolta pari sataa pipoa.”

credit: Iltalehti

European Space Agency astronaut Tim Peake seen during his first spacewalk. Peake and NASA astronaut Tim Kopra successfully replaced a failed voltage regulator on Jan. 15, 2016. Peake is the first astronaut to wear a Union Jack patch during a spacewalk.

by NASA Johnson

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ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut Tim Peake seen during his first spacewalk. Peake and NASA astronaut Tim Kopra  conducted a spacewalk on Jan. 15, 2016 and successfully replaced a failed voltage regulator that caused a loss of power to one of the station’s eight power channels in Nov. 2015. The pair ended its spacewalk early after Kopra reported a small water bubble had formed inside his helmet.