NASA astronaut to set new record for the longest spaceflight by a woman

You think six months is long enough for an astronaut to stay in outer space?

The US space agency has just confirmed last Wednesday, April 17, that another female astronaut is due to set a new record for the longest spaceflight by a woman.

Image via NASA

Astronaut Christina Koch who started to orbit the Earth last month is facing an extended mission. She will be staying in the International Space Station (ISS) for a total of 328 days; set to break the record of Astronaut Peggy Whitson with 288 days in outer space.

“One month. Ten to go,” wrote Koch on Twitter following the news. “Today has become reality: My mission is planned to be extended through a third expedition on board @Space_Station! Privileged to contribute my best every single day of it.”

Part of Koch’s mission is to help National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) study the effects of long spaceflights on the human body.

“NASA is looking to build on what we have learned with additional astronauts in space for more than 250 days,” said Jennifer Fogarty, chief scientist for NASA’s Human Research Program.
Image via NASA

This is not the first time NASA have studied astronauts and the effects of longer stay outside the planet Earth.

In fact, Astronaut Scott Kelly and his twin brother Mark Kelly have contributed a lot to this study. Scott is the current record holder to have the longest spaceflight with a total of 340 days in 2016 while his brother stayed on Earth.

The results were released after several years of processing and it was described by Christopher Mason, an associate professor at Weill Cornell Medicine as “one of the best examples of human plasticity and adaptability that we’ve ever seen.”

Sources: ReutersThe Verge