Astronauts will collect samples from the outer surface of the ISS for scientific research on microorganisms

This week, two astronauts will perform a spacewalk to collect samples from the station’s outer surface and conduct scientific research.

On October 12, two astronauts—Loral O’Hare (NASA) and Andreas Mogensen (ESA)—will perform a spacewalk from the ISS to collect samples from the station’s outer surface for use in scientific research.

Typically, spacewalks are performed to perform maintenance on the station, such as improving the power system by installing new solar panels on its exterior. But this one will be a little different from the usual ones since its purpose will be scientific research and not just maintenance.

Astronauts
Astronauts

On October 12, O’Hare and Mogensen will leave the ISS’s Quest Joint Airlock to collect samples for analysis to see if microorganisms can be detected on the station’s outer surface. They will also replace the high-definition camera and perform other maintenance work to prepare for future spacewalks.

Astronauts will collect samples from the outer surface of the ISS for scientific research on microorganisms

To collect samples, astronauts will use cotton swabs to wipe the outer surfaces of the station. These cotton swabs will be tested for bacteria and other types of microorganisms.

Besides the vacuum of space, the outside of the station is exposed to a wide range of temperatures depending on whether it is in the sun or shade and is also exposed to more radiation than we experience on the Earth’s surface.

Studying microorganisms that can survive in such conditions is important both to keep the station clean and free of potentially dangerous microorganisms and to help scientists find microorganisms that can withstand the harsh conditions of outer space.

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