Today September 25th, 2014 the second half of the Expedition 41 crew launched into low earth orbit heading to the ISS. Today Flight Engineer Barry “Butch” Wilmore from NASA and Flight Engineer Alexander Samokutyaev and Flight Engineer Elena Serova from Roscosmos have started their journey in space heading to the ISS. Docking to ISS will be aired starting at 6:45pm PST tonight on NASA TV.
Expedition 41 will be focusing on 4 scientific tests while on the ISS:
-The crew will be testing some Arabidopsis thaliana seedlings (flowering plant related to cabbage) to see how microgravity effects the growth of the plant. After observation, the seedlings of the plant will be brought back down to the surface for further testing.
-The crew will be testing the effects of microgravity on the muscles of Zebrafish. The purpose of this study is to see if the Zebrafish muscle weaken similar to human muscles in which we can investigate the changes to the muscles and maybe look for treatments.
-The crew will be testing the effects of microgravity on bones by investigating the function of the osteocytes in microgravity. Osteocytes are the most common cell in the bone and have the capability of sensing mechanical forces but scientists do not know how.
-The crew will be setting up the first space based observation system that will be used to investigate meteors. The Meteor Composition Determination equipment will use high resolution cameras to investigate meteors as they enter earths atmosphere to determine the size, density, and chemical composition of the meteor dust.
To follow up on the Expedition 41 crew and to read more about the mission please visit the NASA website here: Expedition 41