Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Astronauts Return to Earth From International Space Station

Science
NASA astronaut Jessica Meir gives a thumbs up after she, Roscosmos cosmonaut Oleg Skripochka and NASA astronaut Andrew Morgan landed in their Soyuz MS-15 spacecraft in a remote area near the town of Zhezkazgan, Kazakhstan on April 17. NASA / GCTC / Andrey Shelepin

Three astronauts landed back on Earth from the International Space Station (ISS) on Friday.


A Soyuz MS-15 spacecraft undocked from the ISS at about 10 p.m. UTC Thursday, with Russian cosmonaut Oleg Skripochka and NASA astronauts Andrew Morgan and Jessica Meir on board.

Meir said it would be hard not to embrace family and friends due to a new culture of coronavirus-enforced social distancing on Earth. "I think I will feel more isolated on Earth than here," she said.

NASA said in a statement that after post-landing medical checks, the crew would return to the U.S. city of Houston and Star City in Russia.

They had spent more than 200 days in space and returned to Earth exactly 50 years after the Apollo 13 crew splashed down in the Pacific.

Morgan spent 272 days on board, during which he conducted seven space walks. He spent four of those walks improving and extending the life of the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer, which searches for evidence of dark matter in the universe.

Meir and Skripochka both spent 205 days in space, during which time Meir carried out the first three all-women spacewalks with Christina Koch, who returned in February.

New Crew

They passed control of the space station to the newly-arrived crew — cosmonauts Anatoly Ivanishin and Ivan Vagner from Russia's Roscosmos space agency, along with American astronaut Christopher Cassidy — before departure.

The new trio had to spend about a month in isolation due to the coronavirus pandemic, and were unable to say goodbye to their families in person.

The ISS, which orbits Earth some 400 kilometers above it, has a mostly U.S. and Russian crew. Its laboratory conducts scientific experiments that cannot be carried out on Earth's surface.

Reposted with permission from Deutsche Welle.

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
Pexels

By Jessica Corbett

A new study is shedding light on just how much ice could be lost around Antarctica if the international community fails to urgently rein in planet-heating emissions, bolstering arguments for bolder climate policies.

The study, published Thursday in the journal Geophysical Research Letters, found that over a third of the area of all Antarctic ice shelves — including 67% of area on the Antarctic Peninsula — could be at risk of collapsing if global temperatures soar to 4°C above pre-industrial levels.

Read More Show Less
Valley of the Gods in the heart of Bears Ears National Monument. Mint Images / Getty Images

By Sharon Buccino

This week, Secretary Haaland chose a visit to Bears Ears National Monument as her first trip as Interior Secretary. She is spending three days in Bluff, Utah, a small town just outside the monument, listening to representatives of the five tribes who first proposed its designation to President Obama in 2015. This is the same town where former Secretary Sally Jewell spent several hours at a public hearing in July 2016 before recommending the monument's designation to President Obama.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
Pexels

By Anthony Richardson, Chhaya Chaudhary, David Schoeman, and Mark John Costello

The tropical water at the equator is renowned for having the richest diversity of marine life on Earth, with vibrant coral reefs and large aggregations of tunas, sea turtles, manta rays and whale sharks. The number of marine species naturally tapers off as you head towards the poles.

Read More Show Less
"Secrets of the Whales" is a new series that will start streaming on Disney+ on Earth Day. Disney+

In celebration of Earth Day, a star-studded cast is giving fans a rare glimpse into the secret lives of some of the planet's most majestic animals: whales. In "Secrets of the Whales," a four-part documentary series by renowned National Geographic Photographer and Explorer Brian Skerry and Executive Producer James Cameron, viewers plunge deep into the lives and worlds of five different whale species.

Read More Show Less
Trending
Spring is an excellent time to begin bird watching in earnest. Eugenio Marongiu / Cultura / Getty Images

The coronavirus has isolated many of us in our homes this year. We've been forced to slow down a little, maybe looking out our windows, becoming more in tune with the rhythms of our yards. Perhaps we've begun to notice more, like the birds hopping around in the bushes out back, wondering (maybe for the first time) what they are.

Read More Show Less