NASA astronaut Anne McClain conducting her final session of the Airway Monitoring experiment. This was also the very last session for this experiment in space.
Starting with ESA astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti in 2015, Airway Monitoring has gathered data on how astronauts exhale nitric oxide in space. The research is helping to build a better understanding of the lung problems astronauts might develop on long spaceflights. Dust circulates indefinitely in space, increasing the chance of entering an astronaut’s lungs. Lunar dust could also cause lung inflammation and this experiment is the first to see how astronauts’ lungs cope with the change in environment.
The Airway Monitoring experiment is notable as it is the only experiment to use one of the Space Station’s airlock for research purposes. Part of the research requires the astronauts breathe while in reduced pressure so air is pumped out of the airlock during monitoring sessions.