Italian astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti has embarked on her second journey to the International Space Station (ISS) as part of NASA and SpaceX’s CREW-4 mission. The launch took place at 9:52 AM Italian time from Cape Canaveral. This mission, known as ESA’s Minerva, marks Cristoforetti as the first European woman to undertake a second spaceflight.
The president of the Italian Space Agency, Giorgio Saccoccia, emphasized the significance of Cristoforetti’s return to the ISS, highlighting Italy’s commitment to space activities. He wished her luck and success in her new adventure.
Cristoforetti will play a crucial role in conducting numerous scientific experiments during her time in orbit. These experiments cover various fields, including medicine and nutrition, with six of them being Italian Space Agency projects.
One of these projects is ASI Prometeo, which focuses on studying the consequences of oxidative stress caused by free radicals in space. The goal is to develop therapeutic tools to protect the central nervous system from oxidative stress.
The Ovospace project aims to investigate the impact of microgravity on the maturation and development of ovarian cells. Understanding this effect is crucial for future long-term space settlement programs.
The Evoo project focuses on studying the impact of the space environment on the physical-chemical, nutritional, and microbiological characteristics of extra-virgin olive oil. This research is particularly significant for understanding how this iconic Italian food product reacts to microgravity and radiation.
In addition to these projects, Cristoforetti will also contribute to ESA’s Suture in space project, which assesses wound healing in microgravity. Furthermore, she will conduct two more Italian experiments: Acoustic Diagnostics, which assesses the impact of microgravity and noise on astronauts’ hearing, and Nutriss, which aims to maintain an ideal body composition in space.
Lastly, Cristoforetti will participate in the Lidal experiment, which assesses radiation risks and develops a detector to measure radiation exposure aboard the ISS.
As we eagerly await Cristoforetti’s work during this new mission, she continues to symbolize Italy’s presence and excellence in space exploration.