ISS - Expedition 50 Mission patch.
Nov. 22, 2016
(Highlights: Week of Nov. 14, 2016) - As the crew of the International Space Station prepared for the arrival of Expedition 50 crewmembers NASA astronaut Peggy Whitson, Russian cosmonaut Oleg Novitskiy of Roscosmos, and ESA astronaut Thomas Pesquet, who launched on Nov. 17, research continued on a variety of investigations including looking for meteors by turning away from deep space and watching the skies below the station.
NASA astronaut Shane Kimbrough inserted a fresh hard drive to record new images for the Meteor Composition Determination (Meteor) investigation making space-based observations of the chemical composition of meteors. The investigation captures high-resolution video and photographs of space rocks falling through Earth’s atmosphere using a software program to search for bright spots, which can later be analyzed on the ground. Measurements made by a spectrograph help determine a meteor's chemical makeup.
Image above: The moon, or supermoon, rises behind the Soyuz rocket at the Baikonur Cosmodrome launch pad in Kazakhstan Nov. 14. NASA astronaut Peggy Whitson, Russian cosmonaut Oleg Novitskiy of Roscosmos and ESA astronaut Thomas Pesquet launched on the rocket three days later for a six-month mission on the International Space Station. A supermoon occurs when the moon’s orbit is closest (perigee) to Earth. Image Credits: NASA/Bill Ingalls.
Meteors are relatively rare, and are difficult to monitor from the ground because of the interference created by Earth’s atmosphere. Investigating the elemental composition of meteors is important to our understanding of how planets developed. Continuous measurement of meteors and their interaction with Earth's atmosphere could help spot previously undetected or unnoticed meteors as they descend toward the ground. The investigation is installed in the station's Window Observational Research Facility (WORF).
Kimbrough installed a new facility on the space station that cuts back on crew involvement with autonomous payloads, giving them more time to spend on more complex investigations. The NanoRacks Black Box or Science Box is a footlocker-sized box designed to host a number of experiments with practically no monitoring from the crew. The box is installed in the Japanese Experiment Module (JEM) and, after connection to the appropriate cables, ground teams took over, commanding their investigations as needed and watching them through a video feed. These scientists confirmed the investigations currently installed in the Science Box were working as expected.
Image above: NASA astronaut Shane Kimbrough is seen inside the Cygnus cargo vehicle while it is docked to the International Space Station. Cygnus delivered approximately 5,000 pounds of science investigations, food and supplies to the orbiting laboratory. Image Credit: NASA.
Kimbrough took time to perform a unique outreach activity, sharing the book “I, Humanity” by Jeffrey Bennett as part of the Story Time From Space program -- an outreach effort combining literacy with science demonstrations recorded in orbit. Crew members read science, technology-, engineering- and mathematics- (STEM-) related children's books, and complete simple science concept experiments. Kimbrough discussed the subject of the book while on camera, and demonstrated the principles involved. Video and data collected during the demonstrations are downlinked and posted to a video library with accompanying educational materials.
The Story Time program is intended to inspire a new generation of schoolchildren to become interested in the STEM fields. The curriculum may help educators improve student understanding and interest in these subjects, preparing the next generation to pursue space-related careers.
Expedition 50 Suits Up and Launches
Video above: Expedition 50 crew members suited up and lifted off on their two-day journey to the International Space Station where they docked Nov. 19, officially starting their six-month mission on the orbiting complex Video Credit: NASA.
Crew members also conducted human research investigations this week, including Fine Motor Skills, Dose Tracker and Space Headaches.
Progress also was made on other investigations and facilities this week, including Veg-03, ISS Ham, ACE-T-1, EML Batch 1, Radi-N2, and the Fluid Science Laboratory.
Meteor Composition Determination (Meteor): http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/research/experiments/1323.html
Window Observational Research Facility (WORF): http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/research/experiments/358.html
Japanese Experiment Module (JEM): https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/structure/elements/jem.html
Story Time From Space program: http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/research/experiments/1287.html
Fine Motor Skills: https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/research/experiments/1767.html
Dose Tracker: http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/research/experiments/1933.html
Space Headaches: http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/research/experiments/181.html
ISS Ham: http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/research/experiments/346.html
EML Batch 1: http://www.esa.int/Our_Activities/Human_Spaceflight/International_Space_Station/Material_Science_Laboratory_Electromagnetic_Levitator_MSL-EML
Fluid Science Laboratory: http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/research/experiments/265.html
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 (mentioned), Text, Credits: NASA/Vic Cooley, Lead Increment Scientist Expeditions 49 & 50/Kristine Rainey.
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