A hangover that’s out of this world- literally! #TimPeake

What’s it like to return to earth after several months in space? According to Tim Peake, it’s the “world’s worst hangover”. Read on, from the Guardian:

British astronaut Tim Peake is experiencing the “world’s worst hangover” after spending six months in space.

Now back on Earth at the European Astronaut Centre in Cologne, Germany, he faces three weeks of rehabilitation during which he will undergo a barrage of medical tests and maintain a strict exercise regime.

Doctors will draw blood, conduct Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) scans, and question Peake to improve their understanding of the physical and psychological effects of space travel.

The astronaut will also be examined on a tilt table that can rotate his body from a horizontal to a vertical position to monitor how his heart and blood circulation are responding to gravity.

It will take Peake a few days to learn to walk again. Soon after landing in Kazakhstan on Saturday he could be seen making his first attempts at walking in Earth’s gravity supported by two helpers.

Sense of balance is also greatly affected by the transition away from an environment where there is no “up” or “down” as defined by gravity.

On Earth, the vestibular system in the inner ear that keeps us on our feet can be over-stimulated. Dizziness and nausea are common problems experienced by astronauts returning from orbit, as are feelings of faintness caused by a drop in blood pressure.

After arriving in Cologne, Peake said he was experiencing dizziness and vertigo every time he moved his head. Such effects normally disappear very quickly; others could take much longer to recover from and some may cause permanent changes.

Tim Peake is carried to a medical tent after the landing in Kazakhstan.
Tim Peake is carried to a medical tent after the landing in Kazakhstan. Photograph: Bill Ingalls/Rex/Shutterstock

Months in space will have weakened Peake’s muscles and bones and temporarily shrunk the size of his heart. Astronauts lose up to 1.5% of their bone mass for each month spent in space. The loss is greatest in the upper thighs and pelvis, and can increase the risk of injuries such as hip fractures.

Over time, the influence of gravity helps the bone regrow, but full recovery can take as long as three years depending on the individual. Muscles get stronger quickly, but the weakness can be deceptive to begin with and astronauts have reported straining their necks by turning their heads too quickly.

While in space, unprotected by the Earth’s magnetic field, Peake will have been exposed to a radiation dose equivalent to about 1,200 chest x-rays. That is enough to increase his risk of cancer, but not by more than about 3%.

Peake and his crewmates – American Nasa astronaut Colonel Tim Kopra and Russian cosmonaut Yuri Malenchenko – made the trip back to Earth on Saturday in a tiny Soyuz descent module measuring just over 6ft (1.8 metres) across.

Two other elements of their Soyuz TMA-19M spacecraft – the orbital module providing extra living accommodation while in orbit, and the service module housing propulsion and control systems – were allowed to burn up in the Earth’s atmosphere.

As they plunged through the atmosphere, friction on the craft’s forward-facing heat shield slowed its speed from 17,398mph (28,000kph) to 514mph (827kph) and raised the temperature to 1,600C.

The capsule parachuted down to a remote spot on the vast scrubland of the Kazakhstan steppe. A second before touch down, a burst of fire from six retro rockets reduced the impact speed to 3mph.

Peake was the second crew member to be lifted out of the capsule, which was rolled on to its side after landing by a gust of wind. He described the journey as “incredible – the best ride I’ve been on ever” and said he was tempted to celebrate his arrival home with pizza and a cold beer.

On Sunday, Peake flew in to Cologne where he was greeted with a hug from his mother, Angela. His father, Nigel, was also there to meet him. He said: “It’s a job well done, I’m so proud of him and what he’s achieved.”

On Tuesday, Peake will give his first press conference since arriving back on Earth at the European Astronaut Centre, the European Space Agency’s astronaut base.

 

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SpaceX Dragon to depart Space Station- follow LIVE! #OutOfThisWorld

NASA will be live-streaming the departure of SpaceX Dragon from the ISS on NASAtv starting at 9am EST.

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The SpaceX Dragon cargo spaceship is grappled by the International Space Station’s Canadaarm2. Credits: NASA

After delivering almost 7,000 pounds of cargo to the International Space Station, including the Bigelow Expandable Activity Module (BEAM), the SpaceX Dragon cargo spacecraft is set to leave the orbital laboratory with valuable science research and return to Earth on Wednesday, May 11. NASA Television will provide live coverage of Dragon’s departure beginning at 9 a.m. EDT.

The Dragon capsule, which arrived at the station April 10, will be detached from the Earth-facing side of the station’s Harmony module using the Canadarm2 robotic arm, operated by ground controllers. Robotics controllers will maneuver Dragon into place and Expedition 47 robotic arm operator Tim Peake of ESA (European Space Agency) will execute the command for its 9:18 a.m. release.

Dragon will fire its thrusters three times to move to a safe distance from the station before being commanded to begin its deorbit burn about 2 p.m. The capsule will splash down in the Pacific Ocean about 2:55 p.m. The deorbit burn and splashdown will not be broadcast on NASA TV.

A recovery team will retrieve the capsule and its more than 3,700 pounds of return cargo, including samples from ongoing space station research, which ultimately will be shipped to laboratories for further study. This cargo includes samples from human research, biology and biotechnology studies, physical science investigations and education activities sponsored by NASA and the Center for the Advancement of Science in Space (CASIS), the nonprofit organization that manages research aboard the U.S. national laboratory portion of the space station. The spacecraft also will return the final batch of human research samples from the one-year crew mission.

In the event of adverse weather conditions in the Pacific, the backup departure and splashdown date is Saturday, May 14.

Dragon, the only space station resupply spacecraft able to return to Earth intact, launched April 8 on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida, for the company’s eighth NASA-contracted commercial resupply mission to the station.

 

Aurora Borealis from SPACE #HiDef #ISS #beauty

The current election climate in the U.S. has gotten me all annoyed and depressed. Sometimes it’s worthwhile to take a step back and appreciate the beauty in our planet. THANK YOU International Space Station for capturing this Ultra-High Definition time lapse of an Aurora Borealis from space. More details here. Enjoy!

Highlights from Scott Kelly’s #YearInSpace

https://embed.theguardian.com/embed/video/science/video/2016/mar/02/what-did-scott-kelly-do-in-space-for-a-year-video

From The Guardian: Look back at the highlights of Scott Kelly’s year in space. The US astronaut touched down on Earth after a 340-day mission on board the International Space Station which helped Nasa study the long-term effects of space travel. Kelly kept himself busy doing everything from science experiments to space walks and dressing up as a gorilla. Nasa are also able to compare his condition with that of his identical twin brother Mark on Earth

Astronaut Scott Kelly is home after #YearInSpace. #WelcomeBack

Astronaut Scott Kelly, along with Russian cosmonauts Mikhail Kornienko and Sergey Volkov landed late Tuesday night in the Kazakhstan desert, NASA and Russian mission control said.

Kelly could be seen pumping his fist and giving a thumbs up after being hoisted from the Russian Soyuz spacecraft that brought the trio back.

More details here.

Astronaut Scott Kelly to head home today after #YearInSpace

Be sure to watch along on NASA TV as Astronaut Scott Kelly completes his Year in Space and heads back home to Mother Earth today. Live coverage begins at 4:15pm EST with a farewell and hatch closure. De-orbit and landing coverage should begin around 10:15pm and touch down in Kazakhstan is expected around 11:25pm.

Kelly, along with Russian cosmonaut Mikhail Kornienko, will head back today after spending 340 straight days in space (ok, so it’s not a full year… but it’s WAY more time than you’ve spent in space). This year-long mission will help NASA and other scientists understand how the human body adapts to long periods of time in space and in 0 gravity -not to mention, Scott Kelly has a twin whose spent this whole time on Earth, which makes for a nice control (check out some details on how space may affect the body here). This is all in efforts to hopefully begin manned missions to Mars #PlanningForTheFuture.

Also, be sure to check out some of Astronaut Kelly’s amazing space pics featured in National Geographic!