суббота, 27 июля 2019 г.

Space Station Science Highlights: Week of July 22, 2019

ISS — Expedition 60 Mission patch.

July 26, 2019

Scientific investigations conducted aboard the International Space Station last week included work on radiation, flying robots, space plasma, and DNA damage and repair in space. The Expedition 60 crew also made preparations for the Saturday arrival of the 18th SpaceX Commercial Resupply Services (CRS) and its cargo of supplies and additional scientific investigations. The orbiting lab provides a platform for commercial research and development and many of its investigations support Artemis, NASA’s program to return humans to the Moon as a stepping stone to Mars.

Image above: The Soyuz MS-13 crew ship approaches the International Space Station carrying three new Expedition 60 members: Drew Morgan of NASA, Luca Parmitano of the European Space Agency and Alexander Skvortsov of Roscosmos. The Soyuz docked to the station on July 20, the 50th anniversary of NASA landing humans on the Moon for the first time. Image Credit: NASA.

Here are details on some of the science conducted on the space station during the week of July 22:

Detecting and mapping radiation dose

Last week, the crew deployed the eleven dosimeters for the DOSIS-3D experiment, which uses active and passive detectors to determine the radiation doses in different locations inside the space station. It provides documentation of the actual nature and distribution of the radiation fields, used to develop a three-dimensional map of the dose distribution in all segments of the space station. Continual exposure to varying levels of radiation in space can be harmful to the health of astronauts and learning more about that exposure is key to protecting crew members.

Examining plasma crystal formation

The crew initiated a run that will catch particle clouds inside the Plasma chamber for PK 4. This investigation, a collaboration between the European Space Agency (ESA) and the Russian Federal Space Agency (Roscosmos), studies complex plasmas or low temperature gaseous mixtures composed of ionized gas, neutral gas, and micron-sized particles. These particles become highly charged and interact with each other, which can lead to formation of self-organized structures called plasma crystals. Understanding how these structures form in microgravity could shed light on plasma phenomena in space and lead to new research methods and improved spacecraft designs.

New robot assistants flying on the station

Image above: NASA astronaut Christina Koch monitors a mobility test of an Astrobee, the blue, black and white box floating in front of her. Astronauts are currently testing three of these free-flying robotic assistants on the space station. Image Credit: NASA.

Astrobee is a demonstration of three free-flying robots designed to help scientists and engineers develop and test technologies that can assist astronauts with routine chores and give ground controllers additional eyes and ears on the space station The autonomous robots, powered by fans and vision-based navigation, perform crew monitoring, sampling, and logistics management, and accommodate up to three investigations. The crew collected data for use in calibration and localization for future mobility testing of the robots.

Real-time analysis of DNA repair

Damage to deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) caused by increased exposure to radiation in space can affect the long-term health of astronauts. Genes in Space-6 determines the optimal DNA repair mechanisms that cells use in the spaceflight environment. The investigation evaluates the entire process in space for the first time by inducing DNA damage in cells and assessing mutation and repair at the molecular level using the miniPCR and the Biomolecule Sequencer tools aboard the space station. Last week, crew members swabbed samples for this inflight analysis.

Other investigations on which the crew performed work:

— Photobioreactor tests whether the biological processes of microalgae work together with existing systems to create a hybrid life support system. This approach could reduce the amount of consumables required from Earth for future long-duration missions:

Image above: NASA astronaut Nick Hague services the Combustion Integrated Rack (CIR), which supports safe flame and fuel research with potential benefit for fire safety on Earth and in space as well as applications in the design of advanced combustion systems for spacecraft and Earth-bound vehicles. Image Credit: NASA.

— ACME Flame Design, which studies the production and control of soot to optimize oxygen-enriched combustion and the design of robust, soot-free flames, is part of a series of independent ACME experiments using the space station’s Combustion Integrated Rack (CIR):

— The ISS Experience creates short virtual reality videos from footage taken during the yearlong investigation covering different aspects of crew life, execution of science, and the international partnerships involved on the space station:

— Space Moss determines how microgravity affects the growth, development, and other features of moss. Tiny plants without roots, mosses need only a small area for growth, an advantage for their potential use in space and future bases on the Moon or Mars:

— The Actiwatch is a wristwatch-like monitor containing an accelerometer to measure motion and color sensitive photodetectors for monitoring ambient lighting to help analyze the crew’s circadian rhythms, sleep-wake patterns, and activity:

— Food Acceptability examines changes in the appeal of food aboard the space station during long-duration missions. “Menu fatigue” from repeatedly consuming a limited choice of foods may contribute to the loss of body mass often experienced by crew members, potentially affecting astronaut health, especially as mission length increases:

— ISS HAM or Amateur Radio on the International Space Station lets students around the world talk directly with crew members on the space station, inspiring them to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering and math, and engaging them with radio science technology through amateur radio:

Space to Ground: Gateway to the Future: 07/26/2019

Related links:

Expedition 60: https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/expeditions/expedition60/index.html

Artemis: https://www.nasa.gov/feature/what-is-artemis/

DOSIS-3D: https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/research/experiments/explorer/Investigation.html?#id=177

PK 4: https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/research/experiments/explorer/Investigation.html?#id=1192

Astrobee: https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/research/experiments/explorer/Facility.html?#id=1891

Genes in Space-6: https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/research/experiments/explorer/Investigation.html?#id=7893

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 Expedition 60.

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