ISS - Expedition 52 Mission patch.
June 7, 2017
(Highlights: Week of May 29, 2017) - As two crew members on the International Space Station started packing up for their scheduled return to Earth June 2, investigations continued into a ground-breaking habitat for use in space and on the ground.
Crew members inspected the Bigelow Expandable Activity Module (BEAM) attached to the station, one of the periodic checkups of BEAM, which was deployed May 28, 2016. Expandable habitats are designed to take up less room on a spacecraft while providing greater volume for living and working in space once expanded. The various sensors and radiation monitors were inspected. Tasks included checking for leaks and taking surface samples to assess the microbe environment inside the expandable node.
Image above: European Space Agency astronaut and International Space Station crew member Thomas Pesquet captured this image of Niagara Falls on the border between the United States and Canada. Image Credit: NASA.
BEAM, the first test of an expandable module, allows investigators to gauge how well the habitat performs -- specifically, how well it protects against solar radiation, space debris and the temperature extremes of space. Crew members will continue to inspect the module every three months to check for stability. Durable, reliable and safe expandable structures have applications on Earth as well. Expandable modules can be used as pop-up habitats in disaster areas or remote locations; storm surge protection devices; pipeline or subway system plugs to prevent flooding; fluid storage containers; or hyperbaric chambers for pressurized oxygen delivery.
Operations began on the Light Microscopy Module (LMM) supporting the Effect of Macromolecular Transport on Microgravity Protein Crystallization (LMM Biophysics 1) study. The state-of-the-art light imaging microscope facility provides researchers with powerful diagnostic hardware and software on the station enabling microscopic research of phenomena in microgravity. The LMM also allows ground teams to remotely acquire and download digital images and videos across many levels of magnification.
Image above: NASA astronaut Peggy Whitson harvested another crop of Tokyo bekana cabbage on the International Space Station. The Veggie hardware used to grow the cabbage will now be temporarily stowed. Image Credit: NASA.
Proteins are important biological molecules that can be crystallized to provide better views of their structure, which helps scientists understand how they work. Using the structural information, researchers can determine how proteins function and which ones are involved in disease processes. The structure is often used to design new drugs that specifically interact with the protein. Proteins crystallized in microgravity are often higher quality than those grown on Earth. The LMM Biophysics 1 investigation studies why this is the case, examining the movement of single protein molecules in microgravity.
Crew members prepared the Microgravity Science Glovebox for the arrival of an investigation into the Functional Effects of Spaceflight on Cardiovascular Stem Cells (Cardiac Stem Cells) – an important study into the physical and molecular changes of stem cells in orbit. Spaceflight is known to affect cardiac function and structure, but the biological basis of these changes is not clearly understood. This investigation should provide new insight into stem cell function pertaining to cardiac tissue maintenance, repair and function. This research may provide new avenues for the use of stem cell therapies to combat heart disease and therapies to repair cardiac tissue damage. It may also confirm the hypothesis that microgravity accelerates the aging process and help develop therapies to maintain astronaut cardiac health during long voyages in space as well as treatments for reversing heart muscle loss once astronauts return to Earth.
Image above: ESA astronaut Thomas Pesquet captured this image of external platforms and solar arrays aboard the International Space Station, and tweeted, “One last glance at our mother-ship before we depart. The @Space_Station is such a unique and remote and almost magical place… I will miss it.” Image Credit: NASA.
Progress was made on other investigations, outreach activities, and facilities this week, including Cardio Ox, Vascular Echo, Glacier 2, Rodent Research, Veggie, Cool Flames Investigation, NanoRack CubeSat Deployer (NRCSD), Radi-N, Amateur Radio on the International Space Station (ISS Ham Radio (ARISS)), Fine Motor Skills, Passive Thermal Flight Experiment, Dose Tracker, and Marrow.
Space to Ground: Cargo Inbound-Crew Outbound : 06/02/2017
Video above: NASA's Space to Ground is a weekly update on what is happening on the International Space Station. Video Credits: NASA.
Bigelow Expandable Activity Module (BEAM): http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/research/experiments/1804.html
Light Microscopy Module (LMM): http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/research/experiments/541.html
LMM Biophysics 1: https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/research/experiments/2191.html
Functional Effects of Spaceflight on Cardiovascular Stem Cells (Cardiac Stem Cells): https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/research/experiments/2436.html
Cardio Ox: https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/research/experiments/931.html
Vascular Echo: http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/research/experiments/1921.html
Rodent Research: https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/research/experiments/1132.html
Cool Flames Investigation: https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/research/experiments/1947.html
NanoRack CubeSat Deployer (NRCSD): http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/research/experiments/1350.html
Amateur Radio on the International Space Station (ISS Ham Radio (ARISS): http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/research/experiments/346.html
Fine Motor Skills: https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/research/experiments/1767.html
Passive Thermal Flight Experiment: https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/research/experiments/2360.html
Dose Tracker: https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/research/experiments/1933.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/Kristine Rainey/Jorge Sotomayor, Lead Increment Scientist Expeditions 51 & 52.
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