jeudi 6 avril 2017

Weekly Recap From the Expedition Lead Scientist, Week of March 27, 2017

ISS - Expedition 50 Mission patch.

April 6, 2017

(Highlights: Week of March 27, 2017) - Crew members on the International Space Station kept a close eye on a major storm that struck Australia in an effort to improve weather prediction models and help emergency responders and coastal residents better prepare for future storms.

NASA astronaut Shane Kimbrough set the intervalometer to gather data for the Cyclone Intensity Measurements from the International Space Station (Tropical Cyclone) investigation. Earth scientists wanted to capture images and data of Tropical Cyclone Debbie as it approached the northeast coast of Australia. The investigation uses a specialized, automated camera and other instruments to acquire data about the storms through one of the portals on the orbiting laboratory.

Image above: As the International Space Station races toward another sunrise, NASA astronauts Shane Kimbrough and Peggy Whitson successfully reconnect cables and electrical connections on Pressurized Mating Adapter-3 during a seven-hour spacewalk outside the station on March 30. Image Credit: NASA.

Scientists are demonstrating new techniques for accurate real-time measurement of the intensities of strong tropical cyclones by using passive instrumentation from low-Earth orbit. This method requires measurements of the temperature of the top of the eye wall clouds of the storm and the height of these clouds above sea level. Combined with information on sea-level surface temperatures and air pressure, scientists can more accurately predict the wind speed, strength and intensities of cyclones prior to landfall. This information would assist emergency responders and coastal residents to better prepare for oncoming storms.

Ground teams commanded operations for the Multi-User Droplet Apparatus (MDCA) in the Combustion Integration Rack (CIR) on the space station. These commands included venting the chamber and filling it with nitrogen. The MDCA is used to perform combustion tests using small droplets of various fuels to see how they burn in microgravity.

Image above: Space station crew members captured this image of Tropical Cyclone Debbie on March 28, the day before it made landfall on the coast of Australia. Image Credit: NASA.

These activities were in support of the Cool Flames Investigation. Some types of fuels initially burn very hot, then appear to go out — but they continue burning at a much lower temperature with no visible flames. These phenomena are called cool flames. Understanding cool flame combustion helps scientists develop new engines and fuels that are more efficient and less harmful to the environment. The Cool Flames Investigation provides new insight into this phenomenon, as well as new data on fire safety in space.

NASA astronaut Peggy Whitson removed the petri base from the Light Microscopy Module to prepare for another round of the Advanced Colloids Experiment-Temperature Control (ACE-T-1) study. For decades, astronauts and scientists have studied complex structures with unique properties in space. The station's microgravity environment allows for the study of microscopic structures in three dimensions without the potentially distorting properties of gravity. The ACE-T-1 investigation examines tiny suspended particles designed by scientists to connect themselves in a specific way to form organized structures in water. The investigation will help scientists understand how to control, change, and even reverse interactions between tiny particles, which helps in the development of self-assembling and replicating technologies on Earth.

Animation above: Understanding cool flame combustion helps scientists develop new engines and fuels that are more efficient and less harmful to the environment. Animation Credit: NASA.

Whitson and Kimbrough finished the week by successfully reconnecting cables and electrical connections on Pressurized Mating Adapter-3 during a seven-hour spacewalk outside the station. The adapter will provide a pressurized interface between the station and a new international docking adapter to support future dockings of U.S. commercial crew spacecraft. The activity was Whitson's eighth spacewalk, setting a new record for the most spacewalks and accumulated time spacewalking by a female astronaut.

Human research investigations conducted this week include Body Measures, Fine Motor Skills, Fluid Shifts, Lighting Effects, Habitability, Space Headaches, and Dose Tracker.

Progress was made on other investigations, outreach activities, and facilities this week, including Sally Ride EarthKAM, ISS Ham Radio, and Group Combustion.

Related links:

Tropical Cyclone:

Multi-User Droplet Apparatus (MDCA):

Combustion Integration Rack (CIR):

Cool Flames Investigation:

Advanced Colloids Experiment-Temperature Control (ACE-T-1):

Body Measures:

Fine Motor Skills:

Fluid Shifts:

Lighting Effects:


Space Headaches:

Dose Tracker:

Sally Ride EarthKAM:

ISS Ham Radio:

Group Combustion:

Space Station Research and Technology:

International Space Station (ISS):

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

Best regards,

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