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NASA's mission is to pioneer the future in space exploration, scientific discovery and aeronautics research. To do that, thousands of people have been working around the world and in space for more than 50 years, trying to answer some basic questions. What's out there in space? How do we get there? What will we find? What can we learn there -- or learn just by trying to get there -- that will make life better here on Earth?
NASA's work is diverse: proving flight technologies; creating capabilities for sustainable human and robotic exploration; exploring Earth, the solar system and the universe beyond; developing critical enabling technologies such as the space shuttle; and conducting science in orbit aboard the International Space Station. With NASA you can explore the universe and discover Earth.
The mission will help scientists understand the links in Earth's water, energy and carbon cycles; help reduce uncertainties in predicting weather and climate; and enhance our ability to monitor and predict natural hazards such as floods and droughts. Details: http://go.nasa.gov/1NoPg5Z
Aboard the space station, Expedition 43 Commander Terry Virts of NASA, Anton Shkaplerov of the Russian Federal Space Agency (Roscosmos) and Samantha Cristoforetti of ESA (European Space Agency) will welcome Soyuz crew members Scott Kelly of NASA, and Mikhail Kornienko and Gennady Padalka of Roscosmos when the hatches between the two spacecraft are opened at 11:15 p.m. ET/3:15 UTC.
Watch the hatch opening and welcome ceremony live on NASA TV beginning at 10:45 p.m.: http://www.nasa.gov/nasatv.
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Scott and his Russian crew members Gennady Padalka and Mikhail Kornienko began a six-hour journey to the space station. For Kelly and Kornienko, the launch began a #YearInSpace to conduct extensive research on the effect of long duration space travel on the human body
Kelly and Kornienko will spend about a year on the space station to better understand how the human body reacts and adapts to the harsh environment of space. Data from the one-year mission will be used to determine whether there are ways to further reduce the risks on future long-duration missions to an asteroid and eventually Mars. The crew will support several hundred experiments in biology, biotechnology, physical science and Earth science -- research that impacts life on Earth. Learn more at http://www.nasa.gov/oneyear
Virts, Shkaplerov and Cristoforetti will return home in May 2015. At that time Padalka will become commander for Expedition 44. Padalka will spend six months aboard the outpost, during which he will become the first four-time station commander and record holder for most cumulative time spent in space. Kelly and Kornienko will return to Earth in March 2016 with Expedition 46 after 342 days in space.
NASA TV will then resume at 10:45 p.m./2:45 UTC to cover hatch opening between the two spacecraft as well as the welcome ceremony.
The Soyuz crew will join Expedition 43 Commander Terry Virts of NASA, Anton Shkaplerov of Roscosmos and Samantha Cristoforetti of ESA - European Space Agency. Virts, Shkaplerov and Cristoforetti have lived aboard the space station since November.
Check out our photo gallery: https://flic.kr/ps/wZj21