A Soyuz capsule carrying Barry “Butch” Wilmore of NASA and Soyuz Commander Alexander Samokutyaev and Elena Serova of the Russian Federal Space Agency (Roscosmos) has docked with the international space station. The three will join Expedition 41 Commander Max Suraev of Roscosmos, Reid Wiseman of NASA and Alexander Gerst of the European Space Agency who have been aboard the complex since May.
The crew members will be working off the Earth, for the Earth, conducting hundreds of scientific investigations and technology demonstrations during their six-month sojourn on the orbiting laboratory. This research includes seedling growth, observation of meteors entering Earth’s atmosphere and studies of animal biology and bone and muscle physiology.
Effects of Gravity on Maintenance of Muscle Mass in Zebrafish (Zebrafish Muscle) is an investigation that will observe the effects of microgravity on the zebrafish, Danio rerio, a tropical freshwater fish belonging to the minnow family. The goal of the study is to determine whether zebrafish muscles weaken in microgravity similarly to human muscles and, if so, isolate the cause. Results from the Zebrafish Muscle investigation may help identify molecular changes involved in the deterioration of muscles exposed to microgravity. This data can help scientists develop new treatments for weakened muscles. The findings could potentially benefit patients on extended bed rest or with limited mobility. In addition, this information would aid researchers in developing countermeasures for muscle weakness in astronauts living in microgravity during extended missions.