Previous: The Coldest Place in the Universe
Next: There's Alcohol in the Middle of the Galaxy!



View count:88,218
Last sync:2018-11-16 17:10
Two astronauts are about to embark on the One Year Mission which can help us understand more about the long-term effects of being in space, and there is an upcoming total lunar eclipse (the shortest one this century)!

The Year-Long Twin Astronauts Experiment:
Water on Ganymede, and NASA Needs Your Help!:
The Solar Eclipse of 2015!:

Like SciShow? Want to help support us, and also get things to put on your walls, cover your torso and hold your liquids? Check out our awesome products over at DFTBA Records:

Or help support us by becoming our patron on Patreon:
Looking for SciShow elsewhere on the internet?


From Comments:
It's a big week for the future of space exploration as three new crew members head up to the international space station. Blasting people off into space is always exciting, but this launch is particularly special because two of the passengers, Scott Kelly and Mikhail Korniyenko, are about to start what NASA has been calling "the one year mission". As you might have guessed from the name, Kelly and Korniyenko are going to be staying on the ISS for a full year as NASA and the Russian Federal Space Agency work together to prepare for future deep-space flights to places like Mars.

Now, this won't be the longest spaceflight ever. There were a few missions to the MIR Space Station in the 80's and 90's that were longer. But it will be the longest stay yet on the ISS, where crew members usually only serve for six months at a time. That's because living in space messes with our bodies in many ways, leading to risks like bone loss and blurred vision. Space agencies are understandably concerned about this, and they've been trying to understand and fix these problems for decades. The problem is, they're limited by only having six consecutive months of data per astronaut. So if we're going to be sending people on long-journeys to Mars, which could take up to 30 months round-trip, scientists need to investigate what these effects look like on longer timescales.

We've talked about Kelly's side of the story before. He has an identical twin who also happens to be a retired astronaut, and NASA's using this opportunity to try a bunch of unique studies on both of them. But that's just the beginning. There are so many different experiments going on over the course of this mission that NASA has divided them into 7 categories. There are functional tests, which will measure changes in the astronaut's motor skills by asking them to perform simple physical tasks before and after the flight. The behavioral health experiments will focus on the psychological side of things- a year is a long time to spend cooped up in a space station, and these studies will try to figure out how that effects astronaut's mental health.

One group of researchers, for example, will comb through astronaut's journal entries, looking for changes in mood and behavior. Other categories will investigate possible visual impairment in the astronauts, as well as changes in metabolism and physical performance, and even how a year in space will change each man's personal microbiome.

The final category, human factors, will evaluate how well the crew scales hold up over the long flight, like whether astronauts have more trouble remembering their training over a long period of time. As the subjects of so many experiments at once, Kelly and Korniyenko definitely have their work cut out for them over the next year. In the meantime, there's plenty to occupy those of us on the ground, like the lunar eclipse on April 4th. 

If you happen to be one of the lucky few who got to see last week's solar eclipse over northern Europe, a lunar eclipse might sound kind of... meh. But solar and lunar eclipses are actually really different! For one thing, the moon won't turn black- instead it will look more like a deep reddish-brown shadow. But, oddly enough, the moon should look black during an eclipse, it only gets it's reddish tinge because earth has an atmosphere, which is actually pretty lucky for us.

The moon will be on the exact opposite side of the earth from the sun. Since this month's full moon is on the same plane as the earth's orbit, it'll pass right through our planet's shadow, creating the eclipse. But even when the moon is eclipsed, sunlight still passes through earth's atmosphere, which refracts or bends the light on the reddish part of the spectrum toward the moon, giving it an eerie red glow. But if you want to see the eclipse in it's totality, you'd better get your timing right, because at 4 minutes 43 seconds, this is the shortest total lunar eclipse this century.

In the central and western US, you'll be able to see the total eclipse early in the morning, between 4 and 7am, depending on your timezone, and it'll also be visible in eastern Australia and Japan at about 11pm or midnight. We have more info in the links below. And if you happen to sleep through this one, you'll get another chance in September, when an hour and a half long total eclipse will be visible throughout Africa, Europe and most of the Americas. And if you do manage to catch it on April 4th, the looming red moon should be quite the sight to see.

Thank you for joining me for SciShow Space news, and especially thank you to our Patreon patrons, who help make this show possible. If you want to keep exploring the universe with us, just go to to learn how you can help.