SpaceX is set to launch Crew-1 astronauts to the International Space Station (ISS) on Saturday, November 14. The passengers for the upcoming mission are NASA astronauts Shannon Walker, Victor Glover, and Mike Hopkins, along with JAXA (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency) astronaut Soichi Noguchi. They will embark on a historic space voyage to the orbiting laboratory aboard SpaceX's Crew Dragon spacecraft. It will be the first operational mission featuring an international crew that will stay six months at the ISS. A Falcon 9 rocket will carry Crew Dragon to orbit at 7:49 p.m. EST from Launch Pad 39A at the John F. Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida.
This week, Crew-1 shared their pet peeves, guilty pleasures and some of their favorite things in the video below. The astronauts are excited, looking forward to launch atop SpaceX's Falcon 9 this weekend. Today they are rehearsing launch day operations ahead of the historic mission.
How much do you have in common with NASA's SpaceX Crew-1 mission astronauts? Probably a lot more than you think!— Johnson Space Center (@NASA_Johnson) November 11, 2020
The crew shares some of their biggest pet peeves, greatest guilty pleasures, and of course, a few of their favorite things! #LaunchAmerica pic.twitter.com/xAl36tpRO6
During their extended stay at the space station, Crew-1 members will be part of Expedition 64 and work on a variety of science research. Crew-1 astronauts will use their agricultural knowledge to become farmers in space to continue to investigate the effects of microgravity on plants and how to efficiently grow crops in space environment. They are tasked with maintaining a garden at the ISS laboratory called - Advanced Plant Habitat (APH). "Researchers are investigating radishes in the Plant Habitat-02 experiment as a candidate crop for spaceflight applications to supplement food sources for astronauts," NASA wrote in a press release, "Radishes have the benefits of high nutritional content and quick growth rates, making these veggies an intriguing option for future space farmers on longer missions to the Moon or Mars."
The astronauts are also tasked with investigating how microbes are be capable of 'digging' through rocks. "The BioAsteroid investigation looks at the ability of bacteria to break down rock. Future space explorers could use this process for extracting elements from planetary surfaces and refining regolith, the type of soil found on the moon, into usable compounds," NASA explained.
Another task Crew-1 will perform once they arrive at the space station is testing a next-generation spacesuit during a spacewalk. The spacesuit is called - Exploration Extravehicular Mobility Unit (xEMU). NASA says the astronayts will conduct a Spacesuit Evaporation Rejection Flight Experiment (SERFE), during which the xEMU spacesuit will be inspected to see how efficient it is at regulating temperature, evaporation processes, among other aspects.
For the next six months, Crew-1 will test out new 3D organ-like chip technology in microgravity for scientists at the National Institutes of Health, the experiment is called "Tissue Chips in Space." "Organ on a chip technology allows for the study of disease processes and potential therapeutics in a rapid manner. During Expedition 64, investigations utilizing organ on a chip technology will include studies on muscle loss, lung function, and the blood brain barrier – all on devices the size of a USB flashdrive," NASA stated.
The four astronauts will also conduct a "Genes in Space-7" research with live insects. A team of high school students is researching how sleep cycles are influenced by the "Circadian rhythm," which is related to our sleep-wake cycle internal clock. To study this natural brain function, fruit flies will be transported to the space station. NASA explains, "Understanding changes in the genetic material that influences circadian rhythm in microgravity can shed light on processes relevant to an astronaut’s brain function."
Conducting research in space has enabled NASA and collaborating Earth scientists to develop technology and medical treatments that have helped life on Earth throughout the years.
About the Author
Evelyn J. Arevalo joined Tesmanian in 2019 to cover news as a Space Journalist and SpaceX Starbase Texas Correspondent. Evelyn is specialized in rocketry and space exploration. The main topics she covers are SpaceX and NASA.