NASA’s next ISS spacewalk has an unusual objective

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While most NASA spacewalks at the International Space Station (ISS) are for upgrade or maintenance work, the one taking place on Thursday, June 13, has a rather different objective — to find out if there are any living organisms on the exterior of the orbital outpost.

It sounds like a pretty exciting premise for an Alien-like movie, but it’s highly unlikely anything quite so horrific will result from the upcoming research.

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NASA astronauts Tracy C. Dyson and Matt Dominick will spend some of their time during this week’s spacewalk collecting samples for analysis in a bid to better understand the ability of microorganisms to survive and reproduce on the outside of the ISS. The pair will also complete the removal of a faulty electronics box, called a radio frequency group, from a communications antenna on the starboard truss of the space station, NASA said.

U.S. spacewalk 90 at the space station will be the fourth for Dyson and the first for Dominick. Dyson arrived in orbit aboard a Soyuz spacecraft in March, while Dominick traveled aboard a SpaceX Crew Dragon as part of Crew-8, and also arrived in March.

NASA will offer a live stream of the preparations for the spacewalk, as well as the spacewalk itself. The coverage will begin at 6:30 a.m. ET , with the spacewalk itself set to start at 8 a.m.

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The space agency will stream the spacewalk on NASA+, NASA Television, the NASA app, YouTube, and NASA’s website. You can also watch it via the player embedded at the top of this page. Viewers will be able to identify Dyson by the red strips on her spacesuit, while Dominick will wear an unmarked suit.

The work is expected to take about six-and-half hours, so there will be plenty of opportunities to dip in and out of the spacewalk coverage on Thursday. If you miss it, there are two more coming up on Monday, June 24, and Tuesday, July 2.

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