ISS - Expedition 52 Mission patch.
July 10, 2017
(Highlights: Week of July 3, 2017) - The week on the International Space Station began with the safe return of the SpaceX-11 Dragon spacecraft to Earth on July 3, and concluded with an investigation into new methods to keep astronauts safe on long space voyages.
Crew members changed the filter on the Long Duration Sorbent Testbed (LDST) which scientists are using to create a more efficient life support system for long-duration, crewed space missions. A silica gel is currently used on the space station to remove humidity or water from the air, which allows life support hardware to more efficiently filter out carbon dioxide. The CO2 is processed with filtered hydrogen from the oxygen generator, converting the two waste products into water, a precious commodity in space.
Image above: International Space Station crew members captured this image looking back at the southern part of Africa as the station crossed into night on July 4. The edge of the atmosphere can clearly be seen above the curve of Earth. Image Credit: NASA.
After a year, that silica gel loses up to 75 percent of its capacity to absorb water, making it necessary to replace it. This investigation is studying 12 potential replacements for the gel to determine which would be most effective for use on long-duration missions. Data from the study will help determine the best material to use to build better filters, which would reduce the number of replacements sent on deep-space missions, leaving more cargo space available for other payloads. Ground crews will conduct a similar experiment in a laboratory on Earth using the same materials for comparison.
A fresh hard drive was installed to record new images taken for the Meteor Composition Determination (Meteor) investigation. Scientists use a spectrograph to analyze high-resolution video and photos of space rocks falling through Earth's atmosphere to determine the chemical composition of these meteors.
Image above: The SpaceX Dragon capsule begins its descent toward the Pacific Ocean July 3 soon after release from the International Space Station. Image Credit: NASA.
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 descended toward the ground. The investigation is installed in the station's Window Observational Research Facility (WORF).
The station crew began thawing out cell cultures to begin a new investigation in microgravity. In space, these cultures will already spontaneously grow in three dimensions. Magnetic 3D Cell Culture for Biological Research in Microgravity (Magnetic 3D Cell Culturing) uses magnetized cells and tools to make it easier to handle microscopic cultures and observe how they grow and function while testing new technology to improve the ability to reproduce experiments and confirm results.
Image above: The Japanese Experiment Module-Small Satellite Orbital Deployer (J-SSOD) on the space station releases small cubesats for Japan, Ghana, Mongolia, Bangladesh and Nigeria. The satellites – no larger than a loaf of bread – are part of a multi-national project for non-space faring countries. Image Credit: NASA.
If this technology proves successful, it may be possible to observe cell cultures on the ground using magnetic tools to levitate them and see them from all angles. Capturing this information in space and on Earth could potentially accelerate drug development and reduce costs.
Other investigations showing progress this week included Genes In Space-3, Rodent Research-5, Fine Motor Skills, Habitability, and Fluid Shifts.
Space to Ground: Celebrating Freedom: 07/07/2017
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.
Long Duration Sorbent Testbed (LDST): http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/research/long_duration_sorbent_testbed
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
Magnetic 3D Cell Culturing: https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/research/experiments/1929.html
Genes In Space-3: https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/research/experiments/2461.html
Rodent Research-5: https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/research/experiments/2283.html
Fine Motor Skills: https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/research/experiments/1767.html
Fluid Shifts: https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/research/experiments/1257.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.
Best regards, Orbiter.ch