#AskLuca: Experiments on the ISS

We all know that Luca and the other astronauts are doing really cool experiments on the ISS. We’ve learned about some great ones already, but this week we’ve asked Luca some specific questions about some of these exciting experiments. Keep reading to learn awesome details about what astronauts are learning about in space!

Join the #AskLuca Experience

As part of my #SoyuzAdventure outreach I am serving as the Earth Liaison for my mentor Astronaut Luca Parmitano who is currently part of the crew of Expedition 36 on the International Space Station. As Luca’s Earth Liason I will be chatting with Luca on his social channels and following his adventures as he shares them online as well as following the NASA and ESA updates about Luca’s mission. As part of my role I will be blogging weekly about Luca’s mission as well writing this weekly #AskLuca column.

If you have questions for Luca that you would like answered you can submit them here. I will pick several questions to ask Luca each week on either Twitter or Google+ and when I get his answers I will post them here on my blog. You can follow the hashtag #AskLuca on either Google+ or Twitter to follow our conversations. This is already turning into a great adventure! Stay Tuned!

oneQuestion 1: Best Experiment

 -asked by Micah, @mt_winston

Question: What has been the most exciting experiment you’ve done aboard the ISS?

Luca’s Answer: Probably so far the most exciting experiment has been the one called “spinal ultrasound”: as an operator, I get remote guidance from a specialist on the ground, in order to take very accurate pictures of the vertebrae of the subject, through un ultrasound machine – these images have to be accurate enough for the specialists to make measurements on the ground. You can read more about it on my blog.

Question 2: Current Experimentstwo

 -asked by Ben, @astro_ben

Question: What sort of experiments do you have going on in the destiny and Columbus labs?

Luca’s Answer: Right now we have one experiment running in Columbus, called FASES – however, in Columbus we also do a lot of the Human Physiology Research.

threeQuestion 3: Spheres Experiment

 -asked by Cian, @irishspaceblog

Question: One experiment aboard ISS I find really interesting is SPHERES which you guys conduct inside the Kibo Laboratory. Would you be able to tell me a little bit more about this experiment, and what benefits will it have on the future of space exploration and satellite technology? Thanks from Ireland!

Luca’s Answer: I haven’t been trained on Spheres, so I’m not an expert: these mini satellites are actually robots capable of performing a certain number of task (flying formation, for example) by communicating one with the other. I can imagine different outputs to such an experiment, for example applying the technology to multiple spaceships and deconflict them on a path to the same destination.

fourQuestion 4: Future of Spaceflight

 -asked by Demian, @DemianHaki

Question: Aside from the economic and technological challenges, do you think space travel will ever be possible for ordinary people who don’t have the physical and mental fitness of current astronauts, given the physiological and psychological burdens of space travel and its aftermath? Are there any particular areas of research who’s findings could lower these burdens for ordinary people in the future?

Luca’s Answer: I hope that the future of spaceflight will be that of men who are looking for a new frontier, and are not afraid of the hardship of living in an alien environment. The studies we’re doing today will open space up to more people.


  1. NEVILLE M. says

    I’m in the process of writing a Comment to This Blog. I’ll Post it ASAP.

    Please note: Abby/Nicole … When you attempt to Click One of the Symbols (Twitter, Facebook etc) or Choose A Name, to Sign In To POST The Comment that you Have Typed. The Comment is Deleted (I think it’s because When You Click to sign In, you actually Leave The Page, and are Redirected back to it).
    So at the moment, to avoid The Comment being Deleted, you need to COPY It, then Sign In, and Then PASTE The Comment and Post It.

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