Space Station Sunday: Every Breath You Take, Every Micro-Satellite You Make

Good afternoon, space fans!  We hope you have had a stellar week…we know a few people who always seem to!  Here’s what was happening on our favorite orbital outpost…


Don't knock the noctilucent clouds.
It was another stunning spin through space this week...
(Image courtesy Jeff Williams / NASA.gov.)


 Commander Jeff Williams and astronaut Kate Rubins checked out their spacesuits in preparation for an upcoming spacewalk (“extravehicular activity” for all you space connoisseurs.)  They will make an egress for progress on August 19th, spending 6.5 hours outside the station to install a new docking adapter.  The adapter will facilitate a variety of future spacecraft connecting more efficiently with the station.


If we were mass media, we'd be saying something about
how Kate Rubins is seen here modeling all the hottest new space fashion
or something similarly dumb.
(Image courtesy NASA.gov.)


Studies on the changes and developments being made on human heart cells in space, as well as effects noted on samples of mouse DNA, were tended to by the astronauts this week.  Work also continued on the Fluid Shifts study, which assesses how the fluids of the body move to affect internal pressure while our spacefarers are undergoing their missions.


It's the ultimate high-jump in space.
Good luck to all the Olympic competitors in Rio (pictured.)
(Image courtesy NASA.gov.)

A European Space Agency science effort called the Airway Monitoring Experiment found the astronauts sitting in the Quest airlock, exhaling deeply into a special device that monitored the nitrogen oxide components in their breath.  While this experiment focuses specifically on lung function and capacity in space, the ability to accurately monitor these kinds of changes in the body could be extremely useful when longer-duration space missions would require astronauts to provide their own medical care.


Which might become of paramount importance, if whatever's
in that glovebox escapes.
(Image courtesy NASA.gov.)


Commander Williams and Cosmonaut Oleg Skripochka tested out some bowling-ball-sized satellites, which will be maneuvered as part of the SPHERES Zero Robotics competition.  Various high school students will be competing to see whose computer code best controls the micro-satellites aboard the station.  The ability to better maintain and manipulate satellites –even little ones- to obtain research data could someday aid in future space missions.


One of the best parts about space is commanding little robots
to do your bidding up there.
(Image courtesy NASA.gov.)

Speaking of commanding things well, congratulations to Commander Jeff Williams, who celebrated his accrued 500th day in space this week!  One August 24th, he will break famed One-Year Crew astronaut Scott Kelly's record of 520 days in space.  Keep up keeping up, Commander!

And of course, a seasoned spacefarer like the commander has got more cool pictures for us Earthlings this week!  Here's some of the space selection from the last hundred or so orbits...


"Summer storms over Cuba and Bahamas."


"Fascinating beauty from nature's intricacy.
Mountains and valley fog imitate clouds and lightning near Lake Titicaca."


"The world comes together in these photos
just like the people are coming together at the Olympics."


That's all for this week, space fans!  We'll see you next Sunday with even more of the awesomeness aloft in orbit!  Watch this space!


It must be hard to gaze over the entire South Pacific
and not get to be able to go to any beaches.
The whole "flying around the planet" thing probably evens it out, though.
(Image courtesy NASA.gov.)


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