суббота, 3 августа 2019 г.

Space Station Science Highlights: Week of July 29, 2019

ISS — Expedition 60 Mission patch.

Aug. 2, 2019

The recent arrival of the 18th SpaceX Commercial Resupply Services (CRS-18) mission brought with it a number of new scientific investigations. Astronauts aboard the International Space Station kicked off some of these new experiments this week while continuing existing investigations. This research included studies of motion control in space, printing of biological tissue and robot swarms. The orbiting laboratory provides a platform for commercial research that supports Artemis, NASA’s program to return humans to the Moon as a stepping stone to Mars.

Image above: The Dragon capsule on the 18th SpaceX Commercial Resupply services mission docks with the International Space Station. Image Credit: NASA.

Here are details on some of the science conducted on the space station during the week of July 29:

New experiments hot off the Dragon

Last week saw the start of new experiments that arrived aboard the Dragon capsule on Saturday, July 27. Crew members installed the BioFabrication Facility, which provides a platform to attempt printing biological tissues in microgravity. This investigation could serve as a first step toward achieving the ability to fabricate entire human organs in space. The astronauts also began and documented the BioRock experiment, which is testing space-based biomining, the process of using microbes to extract minerals from rocks.

Get a GRIP

Animation above: NASA Astronaut Andrew Morgan perfects a seated session of the GRIP experiment, which analyzes motion control in space. Animation Credit: NASA.

The crew collected data to study how being in the microgravity environment affects the nervous system and movement control as part of the European Space Agency’s GRIP experiment. Researchers are testing the ability of astronauts to manipulate items and control their arm motions in space by following a system of beeps and lights that indicate how they should move their arms and hands. Researchers will analyze this data and see how motion control in space differs from on the ground. These results could help scientists understand how gravity affects movement on Earth and may benefit patients with neurological diseases.

Prepping for student-controlled robots on the space station

With advances in propulsion, swarms of small spacecraft are expected to become feasible in the near future, creating a new range of capabilities for Earth and space observation missions. The SPHERES robots are putting some of these technologies to the test. Last week, the crew prepared to run code from participants of the SPHERES Zero Robotics (ZR) 2019 Middle School Summer Program. The SPHERES team tests algorithms developed by students and selects the best designs for the competition to operate the robots on board the space station.

Building stronger bones

Animation above: NASA astronaut Nick Hague handles the Cell Science-02 experiment. Animation Credit: NASA.

The Cell Science-02 investigation examines how microgravity affects healing, tissue regeneration and agents that induce healing. Astronauts used the Life Sciences Glovebox to conduct research into bone regeneration, retrieving bone cell samples to observe healing and tissue regeneration properties. The investigation has potential applications for treating those dealing with impaired healing of serious wounds and bone loss due to osteoporosis on Earth. It also could assist in developing better countermeasures against loss of bone density by astronauts in space.

Other investigations on which the crew performed work:

— 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 orbiting laboratory’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:

— 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:

— Rodent Research-17 (RR-17) uses young and old mice to evaluate the physiological, cellular and molecular effects of microgravity and spaceflight:

— 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:

Space to Ground: Fast Track: 08/02/2019

Related links:

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

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

BioFabrication Facility: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s9csx38k8Zo

BioRock experiment: https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/research/news/biorock-iss-research-microbes-space

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

SPHERES: https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/research/experiments/explorer/Investigation.html?#id=7753

SPHERES Zero Robotics (ZR): https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/research/experiments/explorer/Investigation.html?#id=679

Cell Science-02: https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/research/experiments/explorer/Investigation.html?#id=1676

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

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

Image (mentioned), Animations (mentioned), Video (NASA), Text, Credits: NASA/Michael Johnson/Vic Cooley, Lead Increment Scientist Expedition 60.

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