Flying over Earth
Science & Exploration

Science and spacewalks on Space Station

20/06/2014 5266 views 65 likes
ESA / Science & Exploration / Human and Robotic Exploration / Blue dot

Three weeks into ESA astronaut Alexander Gerst’s Blue Dot mission on the International Space Station and the new arrival is now spending more time on scientific research in the microgravity laboratory.

Columbus laboratory
Columbus laboratory

Alexander has worked on controlled fires in space and continuously monitored his sleep patterns, at the same time as making sure the orbital outpost is working at full capacity.

Apart from continuing the long-term studies on eyes and headaches in space, Alexander recorded his temperature and hormones over 36 hours to understand his sleep patterns.

Astronauts on the Station witness 16 sunrises and sunsets each day – whereas on Earth our bodies rely on sunlight to kick-start hormone production that make us sleepy or wake us up.

Researchers are interested to see how the unique 90-minute days influence sleep. Aside from making sure astronauts feel awake at critical moments, this research in space allows sleep specialists to test theories that they couldn’t anywhere else.

Burning issue

Burning fuel in space
Burning fuel in space

Alexander acted as a weightless firestarter and firefighter this week when he ignited small samples of fuels safely contained in ESA’s glovebox to see how they burn in space. He volunteered as a fireman before becoming an astronaut, so the experiment was in good hands.

This research will improve computer models for fire detectors and extinguishers, both in space and on Earth. He explained the experiment via Twitter: “Burning things in space for better fire safety on Earth.”

Elsewhere, Alexander took samples of his blood and saliva and collected data on his eyes, his skin and his body so researchers can understand how astronauts react to weightlessness.

Other notable experiments included the harvesting of space-grown salads – unfortunately for the astronauts, they are not allowed to eat them.

Spacewalk

Checking spacesuit
Checking spacesuit

Yesterday, cosmonauts Oleg Armetyev and Alexander Skvortsov spent over six hours working outside the Station to install an antenna, take samples and move experiments. Meanwhile the four astronauts inside continued their science activities.

Earlier, Alexander thoroughly checked a newly arrived US spacesuit. Before being declared ready for use, he had to make sure it had survived its climb into space.

Alexander even had time this week for educational activities for Earth Guardian, inspiring children to observe geographical features such as oceans, rivers, landscapes, mountains and forests in their areas during the summer holidays.

Spacewalk
Spacewalk

Related Articles

Horizons logo
Science & Exploration

New Horizons for Alexander Gerst

29/05/2017 12448 views 133 likes
Open item
Alexander commander of ISS announcement
Science & Exploration

Alexander Gerst to be Space Station commander

18/05/2016 16959 views 87 likes
Open item
German President Gauck visits ESA in Darmstadt
Agency

German Head of State visits ESA Operations Centre

26/05/2014 2815 views 14 likes
Open item
HM Queen Beatrix and Italian President Napolitano at ESTEC
Agency

A royal and presidential visit to ESA’s technical heart

26/10/2012 1404 views 3 likes
Open item
Alexander Gerst back on Earth
Science & Exploration

ESA astronaut Alexander Gerst returns to Earth

10/11/2014 18815 views 54 likes
Open item
Science & Exploration

Alexander’s rollercoaster ride from space to Germany

06/11/2014 9274 views 66 likes
Open item
Alexander testing spacesuit
Science & Exploration

Alexander Gerst set for spacewalk

03/10/2014 9833 views 61 likes
Open item
Complete crew
Science & Exploration

Halfway through Blue Dot mission

18/09/2014 4861 views 48 likes
Open item
Our blue dot
Science & Exploration

Blue Dot update

15/07/2014 3513 views 22 likes
Open item
Moonrise from space
Science & Exploration

Spot the Space Station looking at you

01/07/2014 16792 views 77 likes
Open item
Flying over Earth
Science & Exploration

Science and spacewalks on Space Station

20/06/2014 5266 views 65 likes
Open item
Alexander Gerst
Science & Exploration

Alexander’s first week in space

05/06/2014 7407 views 71 likes
Open item
Liftoff of Soyuz TMA-13M on 28 May 2014
Science & Exploration

ESA astronaut Alexander Gerst arrives at Space Station

29/05/2014 6858 views 44 likes
Open item
Alexander Gerst
Science & Exploration

Expedition 40 all set to go

26/05/2014 5363 views 50 likes
Open item
Columbus Control Centre
Science & Exploration

Munich to Alexander: all systems go

22/05/2014 3711 views 42 likes
Open item
Final qualification exams for the Expedition 40/41 crew
Science & Exploration

Alexander Gerst ready for orbit

09/05/2014 1681 views 18 likes
Open item
Testing Sokol suit
Science & Exploration

Ask astronaut Alexander anything

11/03/2014 3398 views 35 likes
Open item
Alexander Gerst
Science & Exploration

Inside astronaut Alexander’s head

17/02/2014 5032 views 64 likes
Open item
Blue Dot mission logo
Science & Exploration

Announcing Blue Dot mission logo

22/09/2013 8590 views 70 likes
Open item

Related Links