The “Horizons” mission began today with the take-off of the three astronauts aboard of Soyuz MS-09, from Baikonur, Kazakhstan. the three astronauts, an American, a Russian, and a German, are, as we speak, heading towards the International Space Station (ISS) where they will conduct no less than 60 scientific experiments on cancer research, asthma, or how long-range space travel affects the human body.
The launch is the first step in a mission that will last until December 12th, 2018, in which the American Serena Aunon-Chancellor, the German astronaut Alexander Gerst, and the Russian Sergei Prokopyev will carry out more these experiments taking advantage of the absence of gravity.
Jennifer Ngo-Anh, the Director of Human Research at the European Space Agency (ESA), said today that the mission will help to solve “many open questions that need to be answered”, referring to human readiness for future long-range space missions to locations such as Mars or the Moon.
The “Horizons” mission involves 60 experiments in the low-gravity conditions of the International Space Station (ISS)
Some of the most important experiments planned, however, aim to improve the fight against terrestrial diseases such as asthma by taking advantage of the low gravity, as according to Ngo-Anh, “the lack of gravity leads to many more individuals floating in the air, constituting a risk factor.”
Also, cancer research will be carried out on ISS since “cancer cells have been found to behave differently in no-gravity conditions,” according to the German astronaut Alexander Gerst.
The main objective, as the German said, is “to help close several knowledge gaps that cannot be filled on Earth,” including other research such as Myotonia, which will aim to study the biomechanical properties of suspended human muscles in order to apply its findings in bone fracture rehabilitation treatments.
The astronauts will also have the small NASA’s Cold Atom Lab.
During the “Horizons” mission, the astronauts will be accompanied by CIMON, the world’s first autonomous, flying robotic assistant who operates in space and is equipped with artificial intelligence, sensors, cameras, and even a language processor.
Erin VanDyke lives on her family farm and has more than 35 years of hands-on experience with the use of livestock guard dogs for predator control. On their farm, Jan and her family use corgis as herding dogs and have raised Shetland sheep, Fainting goats, Morgan and Trakehner horses, and historic breeds of chickens and turkeys. Erin is also an active beekeeper.