ISS - Expedition 52 Mission patch.
June 21, 2017
International Space Station (ISS). Animation Credit: NASA
(Highlights: Week of June 12, 2017) - Crew members on the International Space Station installed a recently-delivered science payload that will provide a unique vantage point for Earth observation.
The Multi-User System for Earth Sensing (MUSES) will provide opportunities for imaging payloads supporting research, scientific studies and humanitarian efforts for both government and commercial customers. When fully installed, the MUSES platform will provide a location for Earth-viewing instruments such as high-resolution digital cameras and hyperspectral imagers. It can accommodate up to four payloads simultaneously, and can be robotically serviced or upgraded. MUSES includes a server on the station that can store and transmit data from the payloads back to Earth for a variety of uses including disaster response, maritime domain awareness, agricultural applications, air and water quality, mining and atmospheric investigations.
Image above: Space Center Houston, the official visitors center for NASA's Johnson Space Center, hosted an amateur radio connection with International Space Station crew member Jack Fischer. Image Credit: NASA.
After a thorough check-out of a platform for Earth observation, crew members deployed an investigation looking into deep space. The Neutron Star Interior Composition Explorer (NICER) studies the physics into the glowing cinders left behind when massive stars explode as supernovas. Neutron stars consist of ultra-dense matter that may eventually collapse to a black hole. The nature of this matter cannot be produced in a laboratory and the cosmic rays produced by the phenomena do not penetrate Earth's atmosphere.
Neutron stars are also known as pulsars due to the pattern of X-rays emanating from the explosion. These pulses are reliable as atomic clocks in keeping accurate time, which is essential for accurate deep space navigation. Pulsar navigation could work similarly to GPS navigation on Earth, providing precise positioning for spacecraft throughout the solar system. The NICER investigation also enables new studies of sources of X-rays, advancing scientific understanding, education and technical development for the benefit of people on Earth.
Image above: NASA astronaut Peggy Whitson works on media exchanges for the Cardiac Stem Cells investigation on the space station. Image Credit: NASA.
Crew members replaced some hardware to continue investigations using the Multi-User Droplet Apparatus (MDCA) in the Combustion Integration Rack (CIR) on the space station. The MDCA is used to perform combustion tests using small droplets of various fuels to see how they burn in microgravity. Another round of combustion investigation will begin in the coming weeks to study the most efficient fuels that we could use on Earth and for missions to deep space.
Space to Ground: A NICER Look: 06/16/2017
Video above: NASA's Space to Ground is a weekly update on what is happening on the International Space Station. Social media users can post with #spacetoground to ask questions or make a comment. Video Credit: NASA.
Other investigations showing progress this week included Cardiac Stem Cells, Rodent Research-5, Body Measures, Neuromapping, SPRINT and LMM Biophysics.
Multi-User System for Earth Sensing (MUSES): https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/research/experiments/1282.html
Neutron Star Interior Composition Explorer (NICER): https://youtu.be/IOEPDf2DYNM
Multi-User Droplet Apparatus (MDCA): https://issresearchproject.grc.nasa.gov/Investigations/MDCA/
Combustion Integration Rack (CIR): https://spaceflightsystems.grc.nasa.gov/sopo/ihho/psrp/fcf/cir/
Cardiac Stem Cells: https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/research/experiments/2436.html
Rodent Research-5: https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/research/experiments/2283.html
Body Measures: https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/research/experiments/1070.html
LMM Biophysics: https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/research/experiments/1970.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), Animation (mentioned), Text, Credits: NASA/Kristine Rainey/Jorge Sotomayor, Lead Increment Scientist Expeditions 51 & 52.
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