NASA Current Affairs - 2020

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NASA astronaut Christina Koch sets record for longest single spaceflight by woman

NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration) Astronaut Christina Koch has created a record for longest single spaceflight by a woman, after surpassing the earlier record of 288 days in space with about two months left in her mission. Christina, who is onboard the International Space Station (ISS) since 14 March 2019, would have spent over 300 days in space by the time she arrives back on Earth in February 2020.

About Christina Koch

She is an electrical engineer from Livingston, Montana. She arrived at International Space Station on 24 March 2019. She broke the record set in 2016-2017, by Peggy Whitson, a former space station commander.

The 40-year-old Christina is expected to spend a total of 328 days (or nearly 11 months), onboard the space station before returning to Earth. NASA Missions are typically 6 months, but the US Space Agency announced in April 2019 that it was extending her mission until February 2020.

Koch’s extended mission will help NASA learn about effects of long spaceflights. As per NASA officials, this data is needed to support future deep space exploration missions to Moon and Mars.

Other Records

The US record for longest space flight is 340 days, which was set by Scott Kelly in 2015-2016. However, the world record is 15 months set in 1990s by a Russian cosmonaut aboard the former Mir space station (that operated from 1986 to 2001).

Before breaking the endurance record for a woman in space, Koch has set another milestone as part of first all-female spacewalking team in October 2019. It was her fourth spacewalk.

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Oxygen Parlour opened at Nashik Railway Station to combat Air Pollution

In a unique initiative to battle rising air pollution in cities, Indian Railways has opened an ‘Oxygen Parlour’ at Nashik railway station in Maharashtra. The initiative seeks to provide an experience of breathing clean air to the commuters.

About ‘Oxygen Parlour’

It has been set up by Indian Railways in collaboration with Airo Guard, a one of the leading consultancies in field of plant nurseries based in Nashik. The objective behind setting up Parloue is to expand this initiative to every railway station as well as every home.

There are nearly 1500 plants in Oxygen Parlour, so, these plants can directly and effectively bring down the pollution in the air at the railway station and allow the people to breathe cleaner air.

Concept: The concept of Oxygen Parlour is based on recommendation of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). In 1989, NASA had conducted a study in which they identified some plants that better absorb the 5 most harmful pollutants from air. It is these plants which have been mostly planted in the Parlour as they can clean the air in an area of 10X10 feet around them.

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