Two of the International Space Station’s crew have extended their stay by almost a year, a record-breaking time in space.
The delay in the pair’s return comes amid growing concern about the longevity of the space station, and concerns that it is facing potentially dangerous problems.
Two crew members – NASA astronaut Mark Vande Hei and Roscosmos cosmonaut Pyotr Dubrov – will remain in the floating lab until March 2022, NASA announced. They arrived in April 2021.
This stay would give Mr Vande Hei the record for the longest stay in space for an American, currently held by Scott Kelly, who spent 340 days on the ISS. (The record for the longest stay in space is held by Russian cosmonaut Valery Polyakov, who spent 437 days aboard the Mir space station in 1994 and 1995.)
NASA said the extra time aboard the space station will be used to give scientists more insight into how the human body responds to being in microgravity for longer periods of time. This could be helpful as they prepare for Artemis voyages to the Moon – which they hope will soon be followed with a longer journey to Mars.
Delays in the return of the pair were announced as crew members – including Mr. Vande Hei – continued to perform critical maintenance work on the struggling space station. They took a piece of equipment from the SpaceX cargo Dragon spaceship that arrived last month, which will soon be installed on the space station.
Credit: www.independent.co.uk /