While we have been firmly grounded and investing in all that the festive season has had to offer some of you may have had an eye on the news or have been following NASA's Twitter feed following the crew of the International Space Station's Expedition 38 crew who conducted just over an eight hour space walk the day after Boxing Day.
Flight Engineer Hopkins reported that the crew had been on lighter duties over this period of New Year but of particular interest they were spending much of their time, not verifying telemetry connectors being mated correctly, but instead, were doing their bit in off- world biomedical research with focus on eye and ocular health.
A day of physical assessment was scheduled where the astronauts took each others readings in blood pressure and alike. Later a series of eye examinations were completed following past observations on flight engineers that had returned from long duration space flight and the requirement to minimize risk of vision while in flight. This is a subject previously flagged and has been rightly made a matter of importance for the ongoing and future health of those that are sent into space.
Vision changes previously found in a number of astronauts returning from long-duration spaceflight have prompted researchers to investigate the root causes and develop countermeasures to minimize this risk.
Both astronauts have been receiving back up support from flight surgeons on the ground, while they used optical coherence tomography equipment to help collect detailed imagery of their eyes. The interior of the eyes were then investigated following an exam with a fundoscope. They will return from their tour with additional information to assist biomedic researchers in the ongoing support of ocular health for space travel.