NASA Astronauts will Remove Microbes from the ISS, On a Next Spacewalk

As astronauts assemble for microbial life clinging to the International Space Station, NASA is inviting viewers to witness live. In an effort to gather samples of microbes that will be examined in order to maybe learn more about how some of the tiniest known living beings can survive in the extreme vacuum of space, Tracy C. Dyson and Matt Dominick will depart the ISS Quest airlock on June 13 at 8 AM EST.

Solar radiation can heat the outside of the International Space Station to a temperature of 248 to -148 degrees Fahrenheit, depending on where it is in relation to the Sun. When you combine that with the vacuum of space, practically every known living thing is doomed to die—but the term “almost” is crucial.

Prior to its planned “US spacewalk 90” on June 13 at 6:30 AM EST, NASA will start livestreaming. The feed can be seen on NASA+, the official NASA television channel, the NASA app, YouTube, and the agency website. Viewers can also view it via the embedded YouTube stream below.

For a considerable amount of time, scientists have been aware that some organisms, referred to as extremophiles, can tolerate the extremely diverse conditions found in space.

It has been observed that tardigrades, popularly referred to as “water bears,” may live for up to ten days outside of the Earth’s atmosphere, and some bacteria and microorganisms can even last for years.

Studying the ways in which tiny life preserves itself could aid scientists in their quest to understand the origins of life on Earth, as well as the possibility that life may be able to migrate between planets by way of comets and meteors.

Wearing a red-striped uniform, Dyson will be crew member 1 as it will be impossible to tell the two apart thanks to their reflective helmet visors. Dyson will dress in an unmarked suit in the interim. Dyson’s fourth spacewalk and Dominick’s first on the ISS will take place on Thursday.

Both astronauts will complete the removal of a malfunctioning electronics module known as a radio frequency group from a communications antenna mounted on the station’s starboard truss during the nearly six and a half-hour spacewalk.

Since April, Dyson and Dominick have lived aboard the International Space Station (ISS) with the other five members of the Expedition 71 crew. They are expected to return to Earth in September. Butch Wilmore and Suni Williams, two NASA astronauts who landed on June 6 after piloting the first crewed (and much delayed) Boeing Starliner launch, are currently the residents’ hosts. As of right now, Wilmore and Williams are expected to return home on June 18.