TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — The International Space Station is home to 11 astronauts for a few more days, four of those being private citizens.
The paying astronauts lifted off from Kennedy Space Center last week and arrived to the ISS Saturday morning. They had about 25 research projects planned while on their 10-day mission.
The research has been ongoing and involves quite a bit of medical research. Former NASA astronaut and current AX-1 commander, Michael Lopez-Alegria, looked at how brain activity is affected in space and how space possibly increases the risk for cancer.
Some of the medical research is part of Moffit Cancer Center. It is known that radiation exposure in microgravity and space travel can alter DNA. Altered or unstable genes are at a higher risk for cancer. Moffit research is looking at eliminating one gene known to be affected by the radiation of space to see if this lowers the risk for cancer developing.
The four private astronauts also took some time to talk with students here on earth to get them excited about the future of space.
Another experiment is called holoportation. This technology has been tested on the ISS before but not yet to this extent. Using augmented-reality goggles, the astronaut is able to “see” and converse with a person on the ground, in real-time. It works two ways where the person on the ground can also “see” and converse with the astronaut on the ISS.
Eventually, this technology will be used on longer-duration missions to spend time with friends and family or even visit a physician.
The flight is making history in more ways than one. Astronaut Larry Connor is now the first person ever to travel to the deepest depths of the ocean and into space in one year.
This mission will come to an end in a few days and the SpaceX capsule will splash down on earth. The next regular-crewed mission of NASA will launch later this month before the current Crew-3 comes home.
The launch of Crew-4 is currently scheduled for no earlier than Saturday, April 23 at 5:26 a.m. ET.