NASA - The National Aeronautics and Space Administration

05/15/2019 | News release | Distributed by Public on 05/15/2019 14:28

Immune System and Microbiology Studies as Spacewalk Preps Gear Up

The Expedition 59 crew spent the day exploring what happens to the immune system when exposed to the microgravity environment. The space residents are also gearing up for another spacewalk at the International Space Station.

NASA astronauts Christina Koch and Anne McClain were back inside the U.S. Destiny laboratory module today studying how a rodent's immune system changes in space. Canadian Space Agency David Saint-Jacques partnered up with the duo during the research activities throughout Wednesday. The Rodent Research-12 study is helping doctors understand how weightlessness changes an astronaut's immune system, which is similar to mice.

Flight Engineer Nick Hague worked solo during the morning exploring the benefits and risks of microorganisms living in a spacecraft. Hague first photographed samples of microalgae that may supplement the diet of future astronauts going to the Moon and beyond. Next, the NASA astronaut continued investigating why pathogens become more virulent in space posing a flight risk to astronauts.

Hague also joined Commander Oleg Kononenko and Flight Engineer Alexey Ovchinin during the afternoon helping the cosmonauts with spacewalk preparations. The trio gathered and inspected tethers, tools and a variety of other gear in advance of the Russian spacewalk planned for May 29. The cosmonauts are scheduled to work outside the station's Russian segment for six hours collecting experiments, cleaning windows and sampling module surfaces.