Space Station trio land safe after 199 days in orbit

A trio of crew members have returned from the International Space Station after 199 days spent in orbit, arriving back on our planet earlier today to mark an all around successful trip. The crew underwent medical tests of various sorts upon returning, including things like performing tasks, taking steps over obstacles, and tasks to test how well they can balance — all of which lends data to the space agency's researchers regarding the effects of time spent in space on the human body.

A lot of effort is underway to get a living crew to Mars, and the data gathered from these medical tests will help ensure that future crews members will be cared for properly. Microgravity, notes NASA, has many effects on the human body, and it is necessary for steps to be taken to lessen or eliminate those effects — of which things like bone mass loss and muscle deterioration are included.

NASA says that more than half of the crew in such environments also have changes to their vision, and at this point that remains a mystery. Different experiments have been carried out to mitigate these issues. NASA describes one as dubbed "Drain Brain", which has crew members use a neck collar that lessens pressure in one's head, potentially curing the headaches that are experienced in microgravity environments.

That's only one example of the many tests that NASA is and has been carrying out — some of which are said to "have a direct benefit to humanity" as a whole. The three crew members were NASA's Terry Virts, Russia's Anton Shkaplerov, and ESA's Samantha Cristoforetti. They touched down in Kazakhstan at about 9:44AM EDT.