British astronaut Tim Peake spoke to 10 students in England via an Amateur Radio link-up from the International Space Station. Talking about space life, how it is, the effects of microgravity, his favorite view from space and current experiments, he also spoke out on what space is like. The UK Border Agency, Amateur Radio station of the ISS’ team and Major Peake connected Major Peake with the students from Norwich. Tim Hare (15-year-old amateur radio fan) established a link with Major Peake’s craft 250 thousands of miles above the Earth’s surface by using a unique call sign. It was an amazing opportunity for students from the City of Norwich School to speak live with a British astronaut, while he orbits Earth. The students had ten minutes for questions. After linking everyone up, the British astronaut suddenly appeared on screen with his voice through the speakers. Ten students took advantage of the time to ask interesting questions. Major Peake from Chichester, West Sussex answered the question “Africa and North Canada” when asked what his favorite regions of Earth he would like to see from space. Major Peake also spoke out about his sleeping habits and quality, saying that he hadn’t been dreaming as much since his arrival at ISS. Major Peake stated, “It was wonderful speaking with everyone in Norwich today.” Tim Peake blowing into a nitric oxide tester to check for airway inflammation. Tim Kopra, a fellow crew member was also in the airlock at low pressure (517mmHg. (Image: twitter.com/asro_timpeake) Airway Monitoring experiment On Friday, Major Peake and fellow crew member NASA’s Colonel Tim Kopra both took part in an experiment which will help scientists determine what happens to space travellers’ lungs when they are on the Moon or other low-pressure environments. Two men were put in an airlock inside the Quest Module of space station. Then, a low pressure environment, 517 (millimeters mercury), was created. At sea level, the standard atmosphere pressure is 760. mmHg. Researchers were especially interested in crew member’s airway inflammation while in the airlock. Tim Peake wrote in his Principia Blog that “this time we’re not going to be on a spacewalk, but rather we will pump some of our air out of the Quest Module in the name science.” (Image: cns-school.org) Staff and students were both excited to see Major Peake on the Norwich City School screen. Major Peake explained that living in space can be difficult for humans. Humans have learned to adapt to gravity over millions of years. Astronauts must monitor almost every aspect of their physical health. Major Peake said, “Fortunately I have a European Astronaut Centre flight surgeon and a team biomedical engineers that look after me every day. But space medicine is still very new.” Dust particle inhalation can cause irritation or inflammation to the lungs of astronauts. Major Peake has so far not experienced any issues. While dust on Earth settles to the ground due to gravity, it floats around in the ISS’s weightless environment. The crew makes sure to clean the ISS every Saturday. Major Peake training with NASA’s Jonson Space Center, Houston, Texas. Major Peake writes about dust on other planets. (Image via blogs.esa.int). Major Peake also wrote that “on the Moon and Mars, it will be worse because there is no gravity and it is weaker than it is on Earth.” A nitric oxide test On Earth medical personnel would perform a CT scan and X-rays to determine if someone’s lungs have become inflamed. Space isn’t equipped with any scanners so this test can’t be done. To test whether the simple nitric oxide test worked, scientists involved in Airway Monitoring devised one. Major Peake said that the Airway Monitoring experiment was the type of research astronauts enjoy. The airlock is used for scientific research, but it also allows us to contribute to the creation of knowledge that will be useful to future astronauts exploring new Solar System environments. Airway Monitoring doesn’t require us to draw blood so that the needles stay in our pouches! This is a great bonus because for most people breathing in and out every day is a given. Patients with respiratory problems, like asthma, have less luck. This nitric oxide test may be a quick and inexpensive way for millions to identify lung issues. It works well in space but is unlikely that it will perform on Earth. Video: City of Norwich students speak to Tim Peake
We monitors and writes about new technologies in areas such as technology, innovation, digitization, space, Earth, IT and AI.