The Next Giant Leap: NASA ISS Experiments Look to Mars | The Institute for Creation Research

The Next Giant Leap: NASA ISS Experiments Look to Mars

When Neil Armstrong set foot on the moon on July 20, 1969, the feat captured the world’s imagination. Numerous missions followed, including the Space Shuttle program and the massive International Space Station (ISS) currently orbiting our world today. Although we’ve launched unmanned spacecraft to the far reaches of our solar system to explore planets and beyond, the question remains: Where will humans set foot next?

Answer: Mars.

Later this year, a friend of our ministry, Col. Jeff Williams, will break the record for the most time in space by a NASA astronaut—534 cumulative days from his four expeditions. But a round trip to Mars would exceed that time in a single journey.

NASA looks to send humans to Mars in the next 15 years. This ambitious plan requires constant research and experimentation by today’s astronauts, and one of the key places to work out the details is on board the ISS. Three current ISS experiments focus on the effects of spaceflight on the human body, testing an expandable habitat for deep-space exploration, and real-time gene analysis.

If an astronaut doesn’t get enough exercise during a long-duration spaceflight, the microgravity (almost zero gravity) environment can cause a rapid loss of bone density and muscle mass. These effects are similar to the symptoms people experience with muscle atrophy diseases. The Rodent Research-3 project studies molecular and physical changes in the musculoskeletal system of mice during spaceflight.1 Test results will increase our understanding of muscle atrophy while using new antibodies known to preserve muscle in mice on Earth. The results could help humans better endure spaceflights to Mars.

Astronauts will need adequate living and laboratory space while on the Red Planet. Habitats should be lightweight and easy to build, and they must perform in microgravity and the vacuum of space. They also need to protect against solar radiation and space debris. A new structure called the Bigelow Expandable Activity Module (BEAM) appears to be a solution.2 “Expandables” take up less precious room on a rocket but once expanded provide greatly enhanced living and working space. The capsule connects to the ISS and expands to a 13 x 10.5-foot compartment. Crew members will monitor the module’s material and design during its two-year test mission.

WetLab-2 uses innovative technology that allows biologists to perform gene activity analysis and other research in the microgravity of space.3 This will help researchers rapidly identify changes in gene expression with the goal of lessening the harmful effects of long-duration spaceflight.

These experiments will advance NASA’s Mars program, and veteran astronauts like Col. Jeff Williams are laying the foundation for future missions, journeys that will continue adding to the evidence for biblical creation.

References

  1. Figliozzi, G. Staying Strong: Spaceflight Muscle Loss Study Aims to Benefit Patients on Earth. ISS Research News. Posted on nasa.gov April 20, 2016, accessed April 25, 2016.
  2. Dunn, A. Experiments Headed to the Space Station Seek Insight on Challenges From Habitat Design to Drug Development. ISS Research News. Posted on nasa.gov May 17, 2016, accessed April 25, 2016.
  3. Dueck S. and G. Figliozzi. Gene Analysis System Could Accelerate Pace of Research on the Space Station. ISS Research News. Posted on nasa.gov April 21, 2016, accessed April 25, 2016.
  4. Facebook.com/NASAAstronautJeffWilliams.
  5. Psalm 119:99.

Image credit: NASA

* Michael Stamp is an editor at the Institute for Creation Research.

Cite this article: Michael Stamp. 2016. The Next Giant Leap: NASA ISS Experiments Look to Mars. Acts & Facts. 45 (6).

The Latest
NEWS
'Prehistoric' Paddlefish?
Evolutionists consider the freshwater paddlefish (Polyodon spathula) of the class Actinopterygii to be a prehistoric creature, a primitive bony fish “50...

ACTS & FACTS
Creation Kids: Earth
by Christy Hardy and Susan Windsor* You’re never too young to be a creation scientist! Kids, discover fun facts about God’s creation...

ACTS & FACTS
To the End of the Earth
The book of Acts recounts the apostles’ journeys across the Roman Empire from Jerusalem and Judea “to the end of the earth,” preaching...

APOLOGETICS
Lightning, Soil Bacteria, and God’s Providence
Nitrogen is vital for human survival, yet few appreciate how lightning and soil bacteria contribute to Earth’s nitrogen cycle. That Earth’s...

ACTS & FACTS
The Bobtail Squid's Living Cloaking Device
Hawaiian bobtail squid (Euprymna scolopes) live among the sand flats and sea plants of the Hawaiian archipelago. Along with other bobtail squid, these...

ACTS & FACTS
Seeing Distant Starlight in a Young Universe
Many see distant starlight as an unanswerable objection to recent creation. Both creationist and evolutionist astronomers agree that distant galaxies...

ACTS & FACTS
Yellowstone National Park, Part 2: Canyons and Catastrophe
by Tim Clarey, Ph.D., and Brian Thomas, Ph.D.* About three million visitors tour Yellowstone National Park’s 3,440 square miles each year.1...

ACTS & FACTS
How Did the Bat Get Its Wings?
Where did bats come from? Evolutionists presuppose that some kind of rodent received just the right mutations to over “a few million years”...

ACTS & FACTS
Biblical Insights into Today’s Violent Mob Mentality
Some scenes from the evening news get etched into our memories. I recall seeing a college professor step outside his building and become suddenly surrounded...

CREATION PODCAST
Are Dinosaurs in the Bible? | The Creation Podcast: Episode 26
If the Bible is true, wouldn't it mention dinosaurs? If God made dinosaurs, when did He make them? Did they live with humans? What ultimately happened...