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вторник, 12 ноября 2019 г.

Space Station Science Highlights: Week of November 4, 2019

ISS - Expedition 61 Mission patch.

Nov. 12, 2019

Crew members on the International Space Station conducted a variety of scientific investigations this past week, including research into colloid gels, the effects of disrupting the body’s daily clock and more. Monday morning, Northrop Grumman’s Cygnus cargo craft carrying more than 8,000 pounds of research and supplies docked to the space station as it flew over the South Pacific Ocean. The commercial resupply mission is the 12th for the company and is in orbit at the same time as NG CRS-11, which launched in April.

Image above: NASA astronaut Andrew Morgan and ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut Luca Parmitano create tape flags for use in the upcoming spacewalks to service the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer. Parmitano would soon after use the Space Linear Acceleration Mass Measurement Device (SLAMMD) to measure an astronaut’s mass using Newton’s Second Law of Motion. SLAMMD applies a known force to an attached astronaut and uses the resulting acceleration to calculate that astronaut’s mass. Image Credit: NASA.

Nov. 2 marked the beginning of the 20th year of continuous human presence aboard the space station, which so far has hosted 239 people and more than 2,700 science experiments. The only platform for long-duration research in microgravity, the orbiting laboratory makes important contributions to Artemis, NASA’s program to go forward to the Moon and on to Mars.

Image above: This black-and-white infrared photograph shows Northrop Grumman’s Antares rocket with the Cygnus resupply spacecraft onboard launching from NASA’s Wallops Facility Saturday, Nov. 2. The company’s 12th contracted cargo resupply mission with NASA delivered about 8,200 pounds of science and research, supplies and hardware to the orbital laboratory and crew. Image Credits: NASA/Bill Ingalls.

Here are details on some of the science conducted during the week:

Improving product shelf life

Operations for Advanced Colloids Experiment-Temperature-6 (ACE-T-6) are running for 16-hours every other day for the next three weeks. The investigation studies the microscopic behavior of colloids in gels and creams to provide new insight into fundamental interactions that may improve product shelf life. Colloids, suspensions of microscopic particles in a liquid, are used in products ranging from milk to fabric softener. Consumer products often use colloidal gels to distribute specialized ingredients such as droplets that soften fabrics. These gels must serve two opposite purposes, however: dispersing the active ingredient so it can work while maintaining an even distribution so the product does not spoil.

Image above: NASA astronauts Christina Koch and Jessica Meir are inside the cupola practicing the Canadarm2 robotics techniques they would use to capture the Northrop Grumman Cygnus space freighter when it arrived Nov. 4 with more than four tons of science experiments, crew supplies and station hardware. Image Credit: NASA.

Protecting the body clock

Crew members installed four Rodent Habitats for Rodent Research-14 (RR-14), which uses mice to examine the effects of disruptions to the body’s circatidal rhythm or sleep/wake cycle in microgravity on a cellular and key organ level. The 12-hour body clock is an important mechanism controlling stress-responsive pathways, and the space station provides an ideal setting to examine this role. Researchers can analyze responses in the mice at the cellular level as well as effects on behavior.

Students see Earth from space

Image above: An image of Corinth, Greece, taken from the space station by the Sally Ride EarthKAM’s November, 2019 Mission 68. Image Credit: EarthKAM.

Sally Ride EarthKAM allows students remotely controlling a digital camera on the International Space Station to photograph and examine Earth from an astronaut’s perspective. Students select coastlines, mountain ranges and other geographic items of interest to photograph, and the EarthKAM team posts these images on the Internet for viewing by the public and participating classrooms around the world. Crew members set up the EarthKam on Monday for Mission 68’s weeklong imaging session.

Other investigations on which the crew performed work:

- Standard Measures captures a consistent set of measurements from crew members to characterize how their bodies adapt to living in space.

- BEST studies the use of DNA sequencing to identify microbial organisms and improve understanding of how humans, plants and microbes adapt to living in space.

- Veg-04B, part of a phased research project to address the need for fresh-food production in space, focuses on the effects of light quality and fertilizer on a leafy crop, Mizuna mustard greens.

- 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.

- Vascular Echo examines changes in blood vessels and hearts of crew members in space and their recovery upon return to Earth. Some returning crew members have much stiffer arteries than when they went into space.

- The ISS Experience creates virtual reality videos from footage covering different aspects of crew life, execution of science and the international partnerships involved on the space station.

- 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.