April Begins with Human Research and Crew Departure Preps – Space Station | Space

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Astronauts Matthew Dominick and Loral O’Hara smile for a portrait shortly after the SpaceX Dragon cargo craft docked to the space station on April 23, 2024.

The Expedition 70 crew kicked off the first week of April with a host of human research to learn how to keep long-term space crews healthy. Three orbital residents are also nearing the end of their mission as they prepare to depart the International Space Station at the end of the week.

NASA Flight Engineers Tracy C. Dyson and Mike Barratt worked together Monday morning and explored how microgravity affects an astronaut’s sense of balance and motion. Dyson, with assistance from doctors on the ground, monitored Barratt as he wore specialized goggles that tracked his eye movements while performing a series of movements. The vestibular exam, part of the CIPHER suite of 14 human research studies, seeks to understand how a crew member’s sense of motion and perception adapts to weightlessness.

Barratt then moved on and joined NASA astronaut Jeanette Epps and tested a specialized thigh cuff for its ability to prevent space-caused fluid shifts. Epps attached electrodes to herself, wore the cuff on both her legs, and performed scans with the Ultrasound 2 device aided by Barratt and researchers on Earth. Insights may help counteract the upward flows of fluids creating head pressure and eye issues in astronauts.

Epps and NASA Flight Engineer Matthew Dominick later took turns conducting a vision test. The duo took a standard eye exam covering one eye and reading characters off a chart. Earlier, Dominick closed out the Cell Biology Experiment Facility following the completion of an experiment exploring creating artificial organs in space.

The orbiting outpost’s four cosmonauts participated in a variety of Roscosmos-sponsored space science and standard lab maintenance on Monday. Veteran Flight Engineer Oleg Kononenko practiced futuristic spacecraft and robotic piloting techniques that may inform future…

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