vendredi 28 octobre 2016

Weekly Recap From the Expedition Lead Scientist, week of Oct. 17, 2016

ISS - Expedition 49 Mission patch.

Oct. 28, 2016

(Highlights: Week of Oct. 17, 2016) - Two launches made this a high-traffic week on the International Space Station. It began on Oct. 17 with the launch to the station of two tons of new science investigations and supplies on a Cygnus capsule. The week ended with the arrival of three new crew members. In the meantime, studies on orbit continued on methods to ensure clean water for astronauts in space and in remote locations on Earth.

Image above: NASA astronaut Kate Rubins works on WetLab-2, which enables a variety of life science investigations in space, such as analyzing genes that may indicate infectious disease, cell stress, cellular growth and development and genetic abnormalities. Researchers can also use the system for real-time analysis of air, surface and water samples to monitor for environmental changes on the station. Image Credit: NASA.

NASA astronaut Kate Rubins deployed the Microbial Monitoring System hardware as part of the Water Monitoring Suite experiment, collecting five water samples for testing. This new technology can quickly detect and identify potentially harmful microorganisms in the station's water supply. If successful, it will ensure that crew members can perform real time tests and monitor the safety of their water on future missions.

Using current technology, it can take a week to search for harmful bacteria. With the new Microbial Monitoring System, it could take less than an hour. This would be invaluable to travelers in space where water is a very limited and precious commodity, and would also help millions of people on Earth without access to clean water. Equipment that is fast and simple to use can improve water quality monitoring in remote areas.

Image above: A Cygnus capsule carrying more than two tons of supplies and scientific investigations approaches the International Space Station as crew members remotely reach out with Canadarm-2 to capture the spacecraft for docking. Image Credit: NASA.

JAXA (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency) astronaut Takuya Onishi started the 11th round of JAXA's High Quality Protein Crystal Growth (JAXA PCG) experiment. He installed two canisters containing 48 protein samples into the Protein Crystallization Research Facility, which will grow protein crystals for the next few weeks to search for methods to improve the quality of crystals grown in microgravity.

Protein crystals have been grown and studied in space for many years and the benefits are widespread. Proteins crystallized in microgravity are better organized and larger than those produced on Earth, where gravity can interfere with their formation. Detailed analysis of high-quality protein crystal structures is useful in designing new pharmaceuticals to combat disease and contributes to a range of commercial aspects including industrial and energy sectors.

Image above: Russian cosmonauts Andrey Borisenko and Sergey Ryzhilkov open the hatch to enter the space station soon after arriving in a Soyuz spacecraft. The station will be their home -- along with NASA astronaut Shane Kimbrough -- for the next four months. Image Credit: NASA.

Onishi also completed his final session of the investigation into the effect of long-term microgravity exposure on cardiac autonomic function by analyzing 48 hours of electrocardiogram (Biological Rhythms 48hrs). Using a special electrocardiograph monitor worn by Onishi, this study collects data analyzing an astronaut's heart patterns and other physical activity over a period of 48 hours. His readings, combined with data measured from previous space station crew members, will be analyzed to improve the health care technology for space travelers on long-duration missions. The data and technology created for astronauts as a results of this investigation could also be used on Earth to promote a healthy lifestyle.

Progress was made on other investigations and facilities this week, including ISS Ham, Tropical Cyclone, Group Combustion, ACE T-1, Meteor, WetLab-2, Personal CO2 Monitors, MDCA, MERLIN-2, Veggie and Manufacturing Device.

Other human research investigations conducted this week include Airway Monitoring, Biochem Profile, Cardio Ox, Repository, Vascular Echo, Dose Tracker, Marrow, Skin-B, and Space Headaches.

Related links:

Water Monitoring Suite experiment:

JAXA's High Quality Protein Crystal Growth (JAXA PCG) experiment:

Protein Crystallization Research Facility:

Biological Rhythms 48hrs:

ISS Ham:

Tropical Cyclone:

Group Combustion:

ACE T-1:



Personal CO2 Monitors:




Manufacturing Device:

Biochem Profile:

Cardio Ox:


Vascular Echo:

Dose Tracker:



Space Headaches:

Space Station Research and Technology:

International Space Station (ISS):

JAXA (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency):

Images (mentioned), Text, Credits: NASA/John Love, Acting Lead Increment Scientist Expeditions 49 & 50/Kristine Rainey.


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