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Three Makes For A Crowd This New Year In Space

The Expedition 14 crew members from left to right are Flight Engineer Sunita Williams, Commander Michael Lopez-Alegria and Flight Engineer Mikhail Tyurin. Photo credit: NASA.
by Staff Writers
Houston TX (SPX) Jan 03, 2007
The three residents of the International Space Station spent a busy week unpacking, inventorying and stowing more than two tons of equipment and supplies left by the Space Shuttle Discovery. The week began with Christmas, a day off for the crew except for required maintenance and exercise. Commander Mike Lopez-Alegria and flight engineers Mikhail Tyurin and Sunita Williams were back on their regular schedule Tuesday, waking at midnight CST and going to bed at 3:30 p.m.

Unpacking items delivered by Discovery took up part of each day during the week. Crew members entered the new supplies and equipment in the Inventory Management System, a computerized, bar-coded tool to keep track of the voluminous material aboard the orbiting laboratory.

Lopez-Alegria and Tyurin passed a milestone of their stay on the station on Tuesday -- it was their 100th day in space. Williams came to the station aboard Discovery earlier this month. She had an hour budgeted each day to familiarize herself with the station and adapt to life on board. These unstructured hours are scheduled during new crew members' first two weeks aboard to get them used to the station and its activities.

Scientific activities picked up again on the station since the departure of the STS-116 crew. During the week, crew members worked on experiments analyzing heart function during long-duration spaceflight, measuring cosmic rays, and examining plant growth and changes in blood of long-duration spacefarers. They also continued a Nutritional Status Assessment.

Crew members also performed required station maintenance and did their daily 2.5 hours of exercise, designed to mitigate some of the negative effects of lengthy space flights.

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Forests Can Also Raise Temperature Of Earth
San Francisco (AFP) Jan 02, 2007
The key to using trees to offset global warming is to expand tropical rainforests south of the equator, according to research released in the United States on Monday. "Our study shows that tropical forests are very beneficial to the climate because they take up carbon and increase cloudiness, which in turn helps cool the planet," said Govindasamy Bala, lead author of the research.

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