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

Updated 22 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Politics: The swing states where the pandemic is raging — Pence no longer expected to attend Barrett confirmation vote after COVID exposure.
  2. Health: 13 states set single-day case records last week
  3. Business: Where stimulus is needed most.
  4. Education: The dangerous instability of school re-openings.
  5. States: Nearly two dozen Minnesota COVID cases traced to 3 Trump campaign events
  6. World: Restrictions grow across Europe.
  7. Media: Fox News president and several hosts advised to quarantine.

Republicans and Dems react to Coney Barrett's Supreme Court confirmation

President Trump stands with Judge Amy Coney Barrett after she took the constitutional oath to serve as a Supreme Court justice during a White House ceremony Monday night .Photo: Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images)

President Trump said Judge Amy Coney Barrett's Senate confirmation to the Supreme Court and her subsequent taking of the constitutional oath Monday was a "momentous day," as she she vowed to serve "without any fear or favour."

  • But as Republicans applauded the third conservative justice in four years, many Democrats including Speaker Nancy Pelosi (Calif.) warned of consequences to the rush to replace the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg ahead of the Nov. 3 election, with progressives leading calls to expand the court.
Ina Fried, author of Login
1 hour ago - Science

CRISPR pioneer: "Science is on the ballot" in 2020

Photo: "Axios on HBO"

In her three decades in science, Jennifer Doudna said she has seen a gradual erosion of trust in the profession, but the recent Nobel Prize winner told "Axios on HBO" that the institution itself has been under assault from the current administration.

  • "I think science is on the ballot," Doudna said in the interview.

Why it matters: That has manifested itself in everything from how the federal government approaches climate change to the pandemic.