Mark Vande Hei is the US astronaut who has been the longest in space

Mark Vande Hei is the US astronaut who has been the longest in space

NASA astronaut Mark Vande Hei arrived at the space station on April 9, 2021 and is expected to return home on March 30, 2022, after spending 355 days in low Earth orbit. This duration beats the previous record, held by retired NASA astronaut Scott Kelly, of 15 days.

Vande Hei will return in a Soyuz spacecraft as planned alongside cosmonauts Pyotr Dubrov and Anton Shkaplerov. During the longest single space flight by a NASA astronaut, Vande Hei contributed dozens of studies out of hundreds performed during his mission, including six scientific investigations supported by NASA's Human Research Program, or HRP.

"Our astronauts are amazing explorers who help expand our knowledge of how humans can live and work in space for longer periods of time," said NASA Administrator Bill Nelson. "Mark's record-breaking mission and his contributions to science are paving the way for more people to travel into space on long-duration missions as the agency pushes the boundaries of Moon and Mars exploration." br>
Vande Hei helped grow and value vegetables harvested with the space station's plant production system, or Veggie. The investigation seeks to develop a food production system that can help astronauts meet their dietary needs with fresh vegetables grown in space.

Credits: NASA / ESA In addition, he contributed to a separate investigation by collecting biological samples from the crew aboard the space station and placing them in a storage bank. Researchers can draw on samples to study spaceflight-induced changes in human physiology.

He is also the first astronaut on an extended mission that will help researchers investigate whether an improved diet for space flight could allow beings humans to better adapt to space. Scientists are looking for answers to questions like: Could a diet rich in nutrient-rich foods like flavonoids, lycopene and omega-3 fatty acids increase the immunity and function of gut microbes on long space journeys?

After landing, Vande Hei will provide additional feedback to researchers studying potential injuries such as bruises suffered by astronauts from the landing force. This feedback will help scientists better understand whether long-term human spaceflight makes crew members more susceptible to such injuries. The findings will also help NASA design protective measures in future spacecraft.

Vande Hei's contributions will expand NASA's knowledge of how the human body adapts to long-term spaceflight as the agency plans future missions to the Moon and Mars. Until then, taking some time to relax and read will help balance the rigors of space travel.

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