vendredi 24 mars 2017

Weekly Recap From the Expedition Lead Scientist, week of March 13, 2017

ISS - Expedition 50 Mission patch.

March 24, 2017

(Highlights: Week of March 13, 2017) - Crew members on the International Space Station worked on a pair of investigations into water that could result in cleaner water on Earth.

Image above: This long-exposure image captures a pair of Russian Soyuz capsules attached to the International Space Station as the outpost flies over the night lights of Earth at 17,500 mph. Image Credit: NASA.

ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut Thomas Pesquet sampled filtered water on the space station as part of the Water Monitoring Suite experiment. 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 Water Monitoring Suite – part of the Microbial Monitoring System on the station – 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 could also help millions of people on Earth who do not have access to clean water. Equipment that is fast and simple to use can improve water quality monitoring in remote areas.

Image above: NASA astronaut Shane Kimbrough loads organic samples into the Minus Eighty Degree Laboratory Freezer for ISS (MEFLI) in preparation of sending them back to Earth on the SpaceX 10 Dragon capsule. Image Credit: NASA.

Pesquet worked on a separate investigation into clean water on the station, injecting water into a pair of Aquapads and leaving them to incubate at ambient temperature inside the orbiting laboratory. After two days, he took photographs of the resulting bacterial contamination in the cotton-based petri dish.

The water astronauts drink on the station is recycled by up to 80 percent from their sweat, urine, and other reclaimed wastewater sources. Recycling water reduces the number of supply missions needed to run the station, and building a self-sufficient spacecraft is necessary for future missions traveling farther from our planet. Using a device that consists of a simple absorbent cotton -- injected with 1 milliliter of water -- and a tablet computer application, ESA’s Aquapad aims to improve the speed and efficiency of water tests in orbit. This quick and simple analysis of water could also help test drinking water on Earth in countries where access to safe water to drink is a constant problem. Aquapad could also be used to diagnose the state of the water after natural disasters.

Pesquet packed samples of the study of gravity-controlled growth and development in plants using true microgravity conditions (Auxin Transport) for delivery back to Earth on the SpaceX 10 Dragon capsule. The JAXA (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency) investigation seeks new insight into how gravity – or the lack of it – affects plant development. The study focuses on auxins – a plant hormone discovered by observing how plants respond to light.

Image above: ESA astronaut Thomas Pesquet initiated the ESA-sponsored Aquapad technology demonstration and sampling using the Microbial Monitoring System (MMS) portion of the Water Monitoring Suite (WMS) experiment. Image Credit: NASA.

Scientists will study the role auxins play in pea and corn seedlings grown in microgravity. Future space travelers will require plant and oxygen production during long space missions and scientists need to understand how to grow plants in microgravity, where there is no clear distinction between up and down. This investigation develops new techniques for controlling plant growth direction by using plant hormones, including auxins, involved in plant development. Results may provide new techniques for efficiently growing and watering seedlings in microgravity, benefiting future life sciences investigations as well as plant cultivation in space. This research can also provide additional insight on how to utilize plants to provide more suitable and comfortable environmental conditions on Earth.

Human research investigations conducted this week include At Home in Space, Fine Motor Skills, Energy, Habitability, Space Headaches, and Dose Tracker.

Progress was made on other investigations, outreach activities, and facilities this week, including APEX-4, CASIS PCG 5, Tangolab-1, Simple Solar Neutron Detector, Google Street View, Meteor, Tropical Cyclone, Microgravity Expanded Stem Cells, Rodent Research-4, ISS Ham Radio, Group Combustion, SODI-DCMIX #3, Multi-Gas Monitor, MAGVECTOR, BEAM, Radi-N2, Manufacturing Device, ExHAM #2 and NanoRacks Science Box, NanoRacks Modules 9 & 71.

Related links:

Water Monitoring Suite:


Auxin Transport:

At Home in Space:

Fine Motor Skills:



Space Headaches:

Dose Tracker:




Tropical Cyclone:

Microgravity Expanded Stem Cells:

Rodent Research-4:

ISS Ham Radio:

Group Combustion:


Multi-Gas Monitor:




Space Station Research and Technology:

International Space Station (ISS):

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

Best regards,

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