Seen a shooting star? It might be an astronaut’s excrement, says NASA. U.S. astronaut Scott Kelly and Russian cosmonaut Mikhail Kornienko reached the halfway point in their year-long stay at the International Space Station (ISS) on Tuesday. To mark the occasion, NASA revealed some interesting details about its year-long research program on the ISS. It will help the space agency eventually send humans to Mars on a round trip.
Scott Kelly will drink 730 liters of recycles urine and sweat
Scott Kelly will produce nearly 180 pounds (82 kg) of poop during his 342-day long sojourn aboard the orbiting lab. NASA said in an infographic that the waste will be discharged from the ISS at specific intervals. It will “burn up in the Earth’s atmosphere and look like shooting stars.” If that seemed a bit weird, consider this: Kelly will drink 730 liters of recycled sweat and urine during his term aboard the space station.
During the “Year in Space” mission, Kelly will see 10,944 sunrises and sunsets. By comparison, people on Earth will see only 684 sunrises and sunsets. Scott Kelly will have to keep his muscles, bones and heart strong in microgravity. So, he will spend 700 hours on physical exercises and run 648 miles on a specialized treadmill during the mission.
NASA to conduct 383 experiments
The mission aims to understand the effects of a long-term stay in space. A total of 383 experiments will be conducted on Kelly and Kornienko. Both astronauts said Monday that they were feeling fit, both physically and mentally. What’s more, living in zero gravity will cause about two liters of body fluid to shift from the astronauts’ legs towards their heads.
Scott Kelly’s identical twin and former astronaut Mark Kelly is participating in the study from his Arizona home as a “control” against whom Scott’s health data will be compared. The Kelly twins regularly undergo cognitive tests, provide samples of saliva, food and other body fluids. They also take ultrasound and MRI tests so NASA could see how protracted time in space affects cell tissue, bone density, and other DNA markers. NASA is concerned that exposure to cosmic rays could make astronauts age faster in space.