среда, 5 декабря 2018 г.

Space Station Science Highlights: Week of November 26, 2018

ISS – Expedition 57 Mission patch.

Dec. 4, 2018

After a day off for Thanksgiving, the Expedition 57 crew members headed into a busy week. They continued conducting science investigations aboard the International Space Station and prepared for arrival of SpX-16 Dragon, scheduled for launch December 4 and arrival December 6.

International Space Station (ISS). Animation Credit: NASA

A planned December 3 launch brings to the space station Expedition 58, NASA astronaut Anne McClain, Canadian Space Agency astronaut David Saint-Jacques and Oleg Kononenko of the Russian space agency Roscosmos.

Here’s a look at some of the science conducted last week aboard the orbiting lab:

Taking advantage of microgravity for crystal growth

Image above: ESA astronaut Alexander Gerst uses a uses a pipette to transfer a protein solution into the Protein Crystal Growth Card for an experiment observing protein crystals associated with Parkinson’s disease to potentially improve treatments on Earth. Image Credit: NASA.

The crew began Crystallization of Leucine-Rich Repeat Kinase 2 (LRRK2) Under Microgravity Conditions-2 (CASIS PCG 16), setting up hardware and filling card wells. CASIS PCG 16 evaluates growth of LRRK2 protein crystals in microgravity. LRRK2 is implicated in Parkinson’s disease, but crystals of the protein grown on Earth are too small and compact to study. Detailed analysis of larger, space-grown crystals can help define the protein’s exact shape and morphology and give scientists a better understanding of the disease’s pathology.

Better membranes for capturing CO2

To support the Design of Scalable Gas Separation Membranes via Synthesis Under Microgravity (Cemsica) investigation, crew members installed the Solidification Using a Baffle in Sealed Ampoules (SUBSA) in the space station’s Microgravity Science Glovebox (MSG). SUBSA offers a gradient freeze furnace that can reach 850°C for materials science investigations.

The crew finished calibrating the SUBSA facility and began processing the first Cemsica cartridge.

Image above: NASA astronaut Serena Auñón-Chancellor prepares to insert modules containing samples for the MICS experiment into the MVP platform. Image Credit: NASA.

Cemsica tests using particles of calcium-silicate (C-S) to synthesize nanoporous membranes (those with pores 100 nanometers or smaller) that can separate carbon dioxide (CO2) molecules from air or other gases. Synthesizing these materials in microgravity may resolve existing challenges in membrane manufacturing and lead to development of lower-cost, better-performing membranes.

Analyzing biofilms in spacecraft

In preparation for its return to the ground, the crew removed a Microbial Aerosol Tethering on Innovative Surfaces in the International Space Station (MATISS) sample holder. MATISS investigates the antibacterial properties of materials in space and is expected to provide insight into the mechanisms for attachment of biofilms in microgravity conditions. Bacteria tend to build up in the constantly-recycled atmosphere of the space station, and this insight has applications for future space missions.

Other work was done on these investigations:

Image above: NASA astronaut Serena Auñón-Chancellor harvests Dragoon lettuce and Red Russian Kale plants that have been growing since Oct. 25 in the Veggie plant growth facility. Part of the harvest was packed for return for ground analysis, and the rest of the harvest was made available for crew consumption. Image Credit: NASA.

– Food Acceptability examines changes in how food appeals to crew members during their time aboard the station. Acceptability of food – whether crew members like and actually eat something – may directly affect crew caloric intake and associated nutritional benefits: https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/research/experiments/explorer/Investigation.html?#id=7562

– The Life Sciences Glovebox (LSG) is a sealed work area that accommodates life science and technology investigations in a workbench-type environment. Due to its larger size, two crew members can work in the LSG simultaneously: https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/research/experiments/explorer/Facility.html?#id=7676

– VECTION determines to what extent an astronaut’s ability to visually interpret motion, orientation, and distance may be disrupted in a microgravity environment, and how it may adapt and be changed upon return to Earth. Multiple tests inflight and post-flight allow for investigation of the adaptation and recovery process: https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/research/experiments/explorer/Investigation.html?#id=7484

– MVP Cell-05 investigates the complex process of cement solidification at various levels of gravity (lunar, Mars and 0.7 g). The MVP facility, used to conduct research in space with a wide variety of sample types, includes internal carousels that simultaneously can produce up to 2 g of artificial gravity: https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/research/experiments/explorer/Investigation.html?#id=7874

– The Veg-03 investigation expands on previous validation tests of the new Veggie hardware, which crew members used to grow fresh vegetables in space. Crew members harvested Dragoon lettuce and Red Russian Kale plants growing since October 25: https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/research/experiments/explorer/Investigation.html?#id=1159

Space to Ground: Constructive Ideas: 11/30/2018

Related links:

Expedition 57: https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/expeditions/expedition57/index.html

Expedition 58: https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/expeditions/expedition58/index.html

SpX-16 Dragon: https://www.nasa.gov/feature/space-life-and-physical-sciences-research-and-applications-spacex-16-experimentspayloads

CASIS PCG 16: https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/research/experiments/explorer/Investigation.html?#id=7855

Cemsica: https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/research/experiments/explorer/Investigation.html?#id=7721

SUBSA: https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/research/experiments/explorer/Investigation.html?#id=308

MSG: https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/research/experiments/explorer/Facility.html?#id=341

MATISS: https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/research/experiments/explorer/Investigation.html?#id=7333

Veggie: https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/research/experiments/explorer/Facility.html?#id=374

Spot the Station: https://spotthestation.nasa.gov/

Space Station Research and Technology: https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/research/index.html

International Space Station (ISS): https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/main/index.html

Images (mentioned), Animation (mentioned), Video (NASA), Text, Credits: NASA/Michael Johnson/Vic Cooley, Lead Increment Scientist Expeditions 57/58.

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