A bit of weightlessness, a lot of twittering, enjoying view of Earth: Anyone who deals with Alexander Barley se days might get impression that German astronaut was in space a few months ago. But when barley leaves for second time in his career to International Space Station ISS on June 6th, he is waiting for a tight program. Each of 187 days is clocked out – from getting up to sleep every minute of Horizon mission is scheduled. Free is only Sunday. Because time on International Space Station is precious.
As commander, Barley will be a janitor on ISS and mechanic, maid and cook, teacher and commander. And last but not least, laboratory assistant. "You can explore a lot of things here on earth," says Barley. "For some things, however, we do not go on for any money in world, especially when it comes to fundamental contexts." On ISS, on or hand, probably already because earthly attraction is practically lifted about 400 kilometers above ground; Physical, chemical and biological processes can be observed without disturbing gravity. The human body also changes in weightlessness. Barley's employer, European Space Agency ESA, thus boasts more than 100 billion euro-expensive orbital outpost of humanity as a "unique platform for science and for Discoveries".
This is reflected in timetable. Around 300 experiments are planned during Barley's six-month mission for a total of six-member crew. 65 of se come from Europe, again 41 of which originate from Germany. One problem: As Europe is only involved with 8.3 percent of expenditure for western, non-Russian part of station, only about 80 hours are available for experiments that originate re. Anor difficulty: The time is enough to install devices and to switch on or off. However, it is not possible to research for days even on an exciting experiment, such as project Flumias shows.About 90 percent of all attempts are automated
Flumias is one of German experiments that is to go into operation during mission. Its goal: to make finest cell structures and metabolic processes visible in real time in order to be able to directly trace changes in cells in weightlessness. In apparatus, hardly larger than a shoe carton, laser light is dropped by several hundred lenses on living, previously dyed immune cells. But Barley and his crew will not observe m, record ir changes and evaluate m: The experiment will run automatically, like about 90 percent of all attempts on space station.Alexander Barley
was born on May 3, 1976 and grew up in town of Künzelsau in Baden-Württemberg. During his school years he worked as a firefighter and lifeguard. After graduation, he went on a trip around continent, n studied geophysics, researched volcanoes in New Zealand and camped in Antarctica. 2008 he applied for a job as an astronaut. He was one of about 8,400 applicants – and was selected. In May 2014, Alexander Barley went to ISS space Station for first time. Today he is 41 years old and hopes to be able to fly to moon in a few years with mission "Orion".
The astronauts only have to switch from time to time, replace samples or check if malfunctions occur. Everything else is controlled from ground – mostly directly from laboratories of research institutes that have devised experiments. This applies to Flumias as well as to experiments for exploration of granulates, crystal growth or metals, which should bring barley to start.
Two and a half hours of sport during day and PR appointments, cooking and cleaning, maintenance and unforeseeable repairs up to outdoor use in open space limit crew's research time in addition. Indispensable are astronauts only when it comes to m: medical and psychological consequences of weightlessness. Then full body use is required. During his mission, for example, Alexander Barley regularly checks condition of his muscles with a gauge of size of a electric shaver: Are y tense, cramped, hardened? How do daily sports units affect each or? And what can be learned from this for earthly rehab programs? "Such experiments, in which we as guinea pigs contribute to better understanding of diseases on Earth, are a lot of fun for me," said Barley at a press conference.
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