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Station Crew Heads into Holidays with Bone and Muscle Research

Published by Klaus Schmidt on Thu Dec 21, 2017 11:05 pm via: NASA
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Three veteran International Space Station crew members and three first-time astronauts will spend Christmas and New Year’s Eve orbiting Earth. They are continuing to research how living in space affects the human body and maintaining the orbital laboratory.

Veteran cosmonaut Anton Shkaplerov is spending his third holiday season in space having served on two previous Expeditions. He recently arrived Dec. 19 with NASA astronaut Scott Tingle and JAXA astronaut Norishige Kanai. Greeting the new crew were Expedition 54 Commander Alexander Misurkin and NASA astronauts Joe Acaba and Mark Vande Hei. Misurkin and Acaba are in the middle of their second station mission and this is Vande Hei’s first mission.

Today, the station residents explored why bone and muscle atrophy occur in space and ways to prevent that loss to keep astronauts healthy.

Kanai collected and stored his breath and blood samples for the Marrow study to understand what is happening to his bone marrow and blood cells during spaceflight. Kanai later joined Acaba peering at synthetic bone cells through a microscope. The synthetic material is being incubated and then integrated with real bone cells potentially benefitting bone health on Earth and in space.

Vande Hei studied zebrafish today observing how their muscles adapt to the microgravity environment. The experiment seeks to identify chemical, protein and cellular activity taking place during muscle atrophy that may lead to new drugs and treatments.

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