суббота, 22 декабря 2018 г.

Space Station Science Highlights: Week of December 17, 2018

ISS – Expedition 57 Mission patch / ISS – Expedition 58 Mission patch.

Dec. 21, 2018

After contributing to hundreds of experiments in biology, biotechnology, physical science and Earth science aboard the world-class orbiting laboratory, three members of the International Space Station’s Expedition 57 crew, including NASA astronaut Serena Auñón-Chancellor, returned to Earth Thursday, safely landing at 12:02 a.m. EST (11:02 a.m. local time) in Kazakhstan.

Image above: Expedition 57 crew members Alexander Gerst of ESA, Sergey Prokopyev of Roscosmos, and Serena Auñón-Chancellor of NASA sit inchairs outside the Soyuz MS-09 spacecraft after landing in a remote area near the town of Zhezkazgan, Kazakhstan. Image Credit: NASA.

The Expedition 57 crew Highlights included investigations into new cancer treatment methods and algae growth in space. The crew also installed a new Life Sciences Glovebox, a sealed work area for life science and technology investigations that can accommodate two astronauts.

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

Investigation studies dexterity in space

Microgravity provides a unique environment to study dexterous manipulation. The European Space Agency’s GRIP investigation studies long-duration spaceflight effects on the abilities of human subjects to regulate grip force and upper limb trajectories when manipulating objects using different kinds of movements (e.g. oscillatory movements, rapid discrete movements and tapping gestures), while restrained in the seated or supine position. This week, the crew performed the GRIP science tasks restrained to a chair in the supine, or lying facing upward, position.

Data collected from this investigation may provide insight into potential hazards for astronauts as they manipulate objects in different gravitational environments. It could also support design and control of haptic interfaces to be used in challenging environments, and provide information about motor control that potentially will be useful for the evaluation and rehabilitation of patients with neurological diseases on Earth.

Crew provides blood and saliva for immune study

Protecting crew health is important as NASA prepares for long duration, deep-space missions. Functional Immune studies previously uninvestigated areas of the body’s immune response, and if spaceflight alters a crew member’s susceptibility to disease.

Image above: ESA astronaut Alexander Gerst completes a blood collection with the help of NASA astronaut Serena Auñón-Chancellor. Image Credit: NASA.

The immune system is a complex weaving of biological structures and processes. Decreased activity in just one piece can cause changes in disease risk within the human body. Studies have shown that microgravity modifies the immune system. This may create an environment where rashes, unusual allergies and latent virus reactivation may present themselves in some crew members.

This week as a part of Functional Immune, the crew provided blood and saliva samples to be used to determine the changes taking place in crewmembers’ immune systems during flight.

Airway Monitoring

With dust particles present in the space station atmosphere, Airway Monitoring studies the occurrence and indicators of airway inflammation in crewmembers, using ultra-sensitive gas analyzers to evaluate exhaled air. This helps to highlight any health impacts and to maintain crewmember well-being on future human spaceflight missions. This is especially important on longer-duration missions – for example, to the Moon and Mars – where crewmembers will have to be more self-sufficient in identifying and avoiding such conditions. This kind of research may also benefit similar conditions, such as asthma, on Earth.

This week, the crew completed Low nitric oxide (NO) and High NO measurements for the ambient pressure session in the Destiny Laboratory.

Image above: David Saint-Jacques, of the Canadian Space Agency, completes the Bone Densitometer calibration in support of the Rodent Research-8 investigation. Image Credit: NASA.

Other work was performed on these investigations:

– The Spaceflight-induced Hypoxic/ROS Signaling (APEX-05) experiment grows different wild and mutant varieties of Arabidopsis thaliana, in order to understand how their genetic and molecular stress response systems work in space: https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/research/experiments/explorer/Investigation.html?#id=1775

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

– Rodent Research-8 (RR-8) examines the physiology of aging and the effect of age on disease progression using groups of young and old mice flown in space and kept on Earth: https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/research/experiments/explorer/Investigation.html?#id=7713

The Bone Densitometer uses X-rays to measure the bone mineral density (and the lean and fat tissue) of mice living aboard the station. As a result, researchers hope to develop medical technology that will combat bone density loss in space and on Earth, helping millions of senior citizens who suffer from osteoporosis: https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/research/experiments/explorer/Facility.html?#id=1059

– Hydrogels are often used for tissue regeneration purposes due to their high water content and how easily they can be customized.  Hydrogel Formation and Drug Release in Microgravity Conditions takes advantage of reduced fluid motion in microgravity to more precisely study behavior of the gel and its potential as a wound-healing patch: https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/research/experiments/explorer/Investigation.html?#id=7749

Space to Ground: Holiday Homecoming: 12/21/2018

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

New cancer treatment methods: https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/research/experiments/explorer/Investigation.html?#id=7502

Algae growth in space: https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/research/experiments/explorer/Investigation.html?#id=7446

Life Sciences Glovebox: https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/research/experiments/explorer/Facility.html?#id=7676

GRIP: https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/research/experiments/explorer/Investigation.html?#id=1188

Functional Immune: https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/research/experiments/explorer/Investigation.html?#id=2011

Airway Monitoring: https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/research/experiments/explorer/Investigation.html?#id=1067

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

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