Double Duty

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NASA astronaut and Expedition 59 Flight Engineer Christina Koch works on U.S. spacesuits inside the Quest airlock.

NASA astronaut and Expedition 59 Flight Engineer Christina Koch works on U.S. spacesuits inside the Quest airlock.

NASA Astronaut Christina Koch’s maiden voyage in space will extend for almost double the scheduled duration. She is now set to stay on International Space Station for a total of 328 days.
This is the next step in the study of the effects of spaceflight on the human body and mind, and it’s likely a result of the declaration of Vice President Mike Pence to return to the Moon by 2024.

The Kepler-47 Twin Star-Twin Planet Solar System now shows another planet; Kepler 4d is 7 times larger than Earth with a 187-day year. The two stars orbit their common center of gravity every 7.5 days.
The discovery drives two take-home messages: there’s a tremendous diversity of planetary system configurations and our solar system is far from typical – most star systems in our Milky Way are binary star systems.

Turning to the night sky highlights this week: Mars is visible in the west after sunset; the moon meets Jupiter Tuesday morning and Saturn Thursday morning one hour before sunrise. Venus and Mercury are low in the east at the same time.

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