The Saudi Space Commission has made public the tasks and scientific research that Saudi astronauts Rayyanah Barnawi and Ali Al-Qarni will carry out during their trip to the International Space Station. In the second quarter of 2023, this mission will take place as part of Saudi Arabia’s program for astronauts.
Science, Human Research, And The Saudi Space Mission
According to the commission, the two astronauts will perform 11 revolutionary experiments in microgravity while on the Saudi space mission. The results of these experiments will help the Kingdom’s standing in the fields of space exploration and assisting humanity. Officials say that Saudi space mission experiments would include everything from studying cells and humans to making synthetic rain in zero gravity. For example, in the artificial rain experiment, water vapor will condense on plankton and salt atoms in microgravity, just like cloud seeding is done in Saudi Arabia and other locations to boost the rain rate.
Dr. Ashraf Farahat from the King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals will help scientists and researchers come up with new ideas for making space colonies on Mars and the Moon suitable places for people to live, including using artificial rain. The trial will also help scientists learn more about rain-seeding technology, which will increase rainfall in many countries. Nebula Research and Development of Saudi Arabia is running six studies on the ISS under the direction of Dr. Bader Shirah to find out more about how being in space affects human health.
The tests will use state-of-the-art neuroscientific tools, such as ones that measure blood flow and electrical activity in the brain, intracranial pressure by looking at the eye’s iris without making a cut, and changes in the optic nerve over time. Blood and biosamples will also be collected to analyze the multiomic biomarkers linked to space travel and to map changes in the length, structure, and epigenetics of chromosomes and telomeres. Additionally, cell science research will be done at the prestigious King Faisal Specialist Hospital and Research Center by Drs. Khalid Abu Khabar, Wijdan Alahmadi, and Edward Hitti. They will study how human immune cells react when they are in space.
The breakdown of messenger ribonucleic acid (mRNA), a process that can reduce inflammation, will also be a focus of their research. The team will collect RNA samples for study on the ground, where researchers will keep an eye on RNA expression patterns and estimate the half-lives of thousands of mRNAs. They anticipate that these findings will advance the knowledge of space health and identify biomarkers or potential treatments for inflammatory illnesses in space and on Earth.
The Saudi Space Commission’s projects will prepare prospective astronauts and engineers through high-quality training and education opportunities, participation in scientific research, international cooperation, and upcoming space-related missions. All of these will help the Kingdom gain recognition and fulfill the objectives of Vision 2030.