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Shield Spotted

On 30 March, NASA astronauts Shane Kimbrough and Peggy Whitson ventured outside the International Space Station on a seven-hour spacewalk. The duo’s work included installing four thermal shields on the US Tranquility module, protecting a…


Cells in Space

Mammalian cells are optimally adapted to gravity. But what happens in the microgravity environment of space if the earth’s pull disappears? Previously, many experiments exhibited cell changes — after hours or even days in zero…


Not for birthday swimming parties

On a recent February afternoon, I strolled up to a fat, brightly painted yellow line and peered down into a clear, seemingly bottomless pool. Like the mythical sirens of the Homeric Age, the water called…


In space, no one can hear you sneeze

When your house gets dusty, the dust settles, falling down to lower surfaces, awaiting your attention with the vacuum cleaner or duster. Not so on the International Space Station. Like any home, it gets dusty,…



Jobsearch: 450 km above Earth

Sometimes you’re allowed to float free at about 450 kilometers above the Earth. And then you have work to do. ESA astronaut Thomas Pesquet on his first spacewalk, Friday 13 January 2017. Together with NASA…


Off goes 2017

This long-exposure shot shows the November launch of a Soyuz spacecraft from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. It ferried Peggy Whitson, Oleg Novitskiy and Thomas Pesquet to the International Space Station. (Nature)