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NASA astronaut Christina Koch on the International Space Station. Photo: NASA

Astronaut Christina Koch will spend nearly a year on the International Space Station, NASA announced Wednesday.

When Koch comes back to Earth in February 2020, she will hold the record for the longest spaceflight ever by a woman at 328 days. Koch arrived onboard the Space Station on March 14.

Why it matters: NASA has been mounting these year-long missions to help gear up the space agency for future human missions to Mars. By learning more about how the human body reacts to long-duration spaceflight, NASA may be able to devise ways to mitigate the risks posed by months-long trips to deep space destinations.

  • “Astronauts demonstrate amazing resilience and adaptability in response to long duration spaceflight exposure,” Jennifer Fogarty, chief scientist of NASA's human research program, said in a statement.
  • NASA's recently published "twins study" showed that astronaut Scott Kelly's body and even cognition changed during his 340 days in space, but those changes aren't necessarily limiting factors for long-duration spaceflight in the future.

Details: Koch will surpass NASA astronaut Peggy Whitson's record of 288 days for the longest single spaceflight by a woman and come just shy of Kelly's "year in space."

  • Koch's stay in space was recently in the spotlight due to NASA's cancelation of the first all female spacewalk with Koch and her fellow crewmember Anne McClain, due to a lack of ready-to-use spacesuits in their sizes.
  • NASA's Andrew Morgan is also expected to have an extended stay on the space station when he launches in July. Morgan's flight should last about 255 days.

Go deeper:

Go deeper

39 mins ago - World

Sudan's military places civilian prime minister under house arrest

Sudanese Prime Minister Abdallah Hamdok during a 2020 news conference in Khartoum, Sudan. Photo: Mahmoud Hjaj/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Sudan's civilian Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok was put under house arrest and several other ministers were also detained Monday in what appears to be a military coup in the country, per local reports.

Why it matters: The arrests of the civilian faction in the Sudanese government came a day after U.S. envoy Jeffrey Feltman met with the head of the military faction of the Sudanese government General Abdul Fattah al-Burhan and warned him against staging a coup.

"Atmospheric river" swings Northern California from drought to flood

Satellite view of the bomb cyclone swirling off the coast of the Pacific Northwest and the atmospheric river affecting California on Oct. 24. Photo: CIRA/RAMMB

A series of powerful "atmospheric river" storms are delivering historic amounts of rainfall across parts of drought-stricken California and the Pacific Northwest — triggering widespread power outages and flooding.

Why it matters: The strong atmospheric river, packing large amounts of moisture, is causing Northern California to whiplash from drought to flood.

Updated 3 hours ago - World

Saudi dissident claims MBS said he could get "poison ring" to kill king

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman attending the Saudi Green Initiative Forum, via video link, in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia on Saturday. Photo: Royal Court of Saudi Arabia/Handout/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

A former senior Saudi intelligence official who worked with the U.S. on counterterrorism alleged to "60 Minutes" in an interview broadcast Sunday that Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman discussed in 2014 killing the kingdom's then-monarch.

Why it matters: The claim by the exiled Saad al-Jabri, whom Saudi authorities describe as "a discredited former government official," that the crown prince, known as "MBS," allegedly said he could obtain a "ring from Russia" to carry out the attack, is one of several serious but unproven allegations he made on the CBS show.