by Staff Writers
Paris (ESA) Jan 14, 2015
Yesterday, ESA astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti and NASA astronaut Butch Wilmore captured the Dragon spacecraft with its supplies and new experiments for the six astronauts living 400 km above our planet.
Samantha assisted Butch as he operated the International Space Station's 17 m-long robotic arm to capture the five-tonne supply vessel floating 10 m from the weightless research centre. The spacecraft has brought many experiments for the astronauts to run, involving fruit flies, flatworms, human and shellfish immune cells.
Science against the clock
The cells have been extracted from fresh human blood - and they survive only 120 hours once outside it. After a two-day flight on Dragon, the cells are on the Station and they need to be placed inside ESA's Kubik incubator in Europe's Columbus module as soon as possible.
Once inside the 37 C incubator, the immune cells will be activated to provoke an immune response before being frozen for analysis back on Earth. The international team of scientists conducted multiple rehearsals last year to perfect these important steps.
Science sequence part one
By simulating an infection in immune cells from different sources - mussels, rats and bacteria - and exposing them to weightlessness, normal gravity on Earth and simulated gravity in space, researchers hope to pinpoint whether it is microgravity, radiation or a combination of factors that affect immune systems during spaceflight.
Sharing the adventure
Follow her mission via samanthacristoforetti.esa.int.
Station at NASA
Station and More at Roscosmos
S.P. Korolev RSC Energia
Watch NASA TV via Space.TV
Space Station News at Space-Travel.Com
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