Christina Koch, an astronaut with NASA, landed back on Earth on February 6 after spending 328 days on the International Space Station (ISS). Her feat set a world record because she is now the only woman who can boast the longest continuous time in space. She returned in the Soyuz crew ship along with two other Astronauts. They were Luca Parmitano from the European Space Agency and Alexander Skvortsov of the Russian space agency. The ship landed in a desert in Kazakhstan and after the post-landing medical checks, the astronauts proceeded on their way back home.

Koch and Parmitano board a NASA plane that will take them to Cologne, Germany. Parmitano will get off there and Koch will proceed to Houston.

NASA plans to send a woman to the moon in 2024 and, given her record, Christina’s name could figure in the list. Daily Mail UK says Peggy Whitson, also of NASA, held the previous record set for a single spaceflight by a woman. It lasted 289 days and she set the record in 2017. It now stands in the name of Christina Koch who did it on December 28. Her 328-day mission translates into the equivalent of 291 trips to the Moon and back. She is now seventh on the list for overall time spent in space by US astronauts.

NASA has hopes for women astronauts

Christina Koch seemingly loves to make history.

In October, she was associated with the first-ever all-woman spacewalk. Her partner was Jessica Meir, another woman astronaut with NASA. The two of them conducted a couple of spacewalks together in January. Before leaving the ISS, Christina interacted with journalists on the ground. She was all praises for Peggy Whitson whose record she beat.

She referred to Peggy as “a heroine of mine” and a “mentor” in the space program. The new record holder wants to be an inspiration for future explorers. Incidentally, while the first woman in space was Soviet cosmonaut Valentina Tereshkova, there has been only one woman, Yelena Serova from Russia who spent time in the ISS. Both of them are now lawmakers in the Russian parliament.

Daily Mail UK goes on to add that NASA feels the long term uninterrupted stay of Koch in the space lab will provide researchers with useful data. These will cover various aspects of the female body during long-duration spaceflights. Data of this nature will help NASA set up a permanent space station on the Moon.

Contributions by NASA in space research

According to The Guardian, before departing from the ISS, Christina Koch said she would miss the friendship of her crewmates and the views from the space lab. She also said that she wants to feel the wind on her face, one of the very simple pleasures back on Earth. She blasted off on March 12 last year and is an example of how NASA is contributing to space research in different spheres.

Christina was in space for 328 days and it was the longest continuous spaceflight ever undertaken by a female astronaut. It fell short by 12 days of the US record set by Scott Kelly in 2015/16. Until now, more than 560 men have been to space since 1961. The corresponding figure for women is not even 70.

NASA is way ahead of other space agencies

There are several space agencies in the world. They are from Europe, Russia, China, and others and are involved in space research. However, NASA is way ahead of them. The International Space Station is the best example. Scientists from all over the world come here and associate in projects that help to understand more about space. NASA sent the first man to the moon half a century back.

It has also positioned a couple of its robots, Curiosity, and InSight on Mars. These operate on Renewable Energy. NASA now plans to send humans, including women, back to the moon. That will be a huge step towards conquering Mars. The American space agency encourages participation of private companies like SpaceX of Elon Musk and Boeing in its programs. Artificial intelligence is also expected to play a vital role in the scheme of things.