ISS - Expedition 52 Mission patch.
Aug. 22, 2017
(Highlights: Week of August 14, 2017) - Two tons of science supplies arrived at the International Space Station this week, ahead of a spacewalk by two Russian cosmonauts. The SpaceX Dragon delivery included research seeking to better understand vision impacts of microgravity, a protein implicated in Parkinson’s disease and cosmic rays. Meanwhile, crew members continued work on a variety of investigations aboard the orbiting laboratory.
ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut Paolo Nespoli used light meter hardware for the investigation Testing Solid State Lighting Countermeasures to Improve Circadian Adaptation, Sleep, and Performance During High Fidelity Analog and Flight Studies for the International Space Station (Lighting Effects). This investigation tests a new lighting design using light-emitting diodes to replace the fragile fluorescent lights currently used on the space station. Measurements of various light settings were taken to ensure the LEDs provide enough light to be able to complete science experiments while improving cognitive performance.
Image above: The SpaceX Dragon cargo craft approaches the International Space Station on Aug. 16. The capsule delivered two tons of science investigations. Image Credit: NASA.
LEDs are adjustable for intensity and color -- the blue, white or yellow sections of the light spectrum. Scientists and doctors want to determine if the new lights can improve improve crew sleep cycles and alertness during the day. Besides the potential health benefits, these lights also require less energy to run and are lower in mass, making them a prime candidate for use on future spacecraft. Using the same type of lights on Earth, and subtly adjusting their color temperature during the day may help people be more productive, especially those who work a night shift.
NASA astronaut Peggy Whitson began work on a new investigation on the orbiting laboratory, preparing to culture a rare type of fungus to search for new antibiotics. The Intraterrestrial Fungus (STaARS-iFUNGUS) investigation transports frozen samples of fungal spores to the station, growing them in different nutrient mixtures over different intervals, refreezing the samples before returning them to Earth. The fungus, penicillium chrysogenum, differs from other fungi because it comes from deep in the planet's subsurface and shows potential as a source for new antibacterial compounds.
Image above: NASA astronauts Jack Fischer and Peggy Whitson, along with ESA astronaut Paolo Nespoli, unload two tons of science supplies from the SpaceX Dragon cargo vehicle. Image Credit: NASA.
When the samples are returned to Earth, scientists will examine how they grew and what chemicals they produced. The investigation demonstrates how the microgravity environment on the station can serve as a laboratory and production facility for new life science discoveries. The unique conditions of space allow scientists to search for compounds that can prevent infections on Earth.
Image above: This new lighting system was installed on the International Space Station to test a possible replacement for the fluorescent light bulbs that are currently used. The new light source is a series of solid-state, light-emitting diodes, which use less energy and create less heat. Image Credit: NASA.
NASA astronaut Jack Fischer performed a non-invasive assessment of intracranial pressure for spaceflight and related visual impairment (IPVI). Long-term spaceflight increases pressure in the head, resulting in changes to the shape of crew members' eyes and optic nerves, causing vision changes. JAXA's (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency) IPVI investigation analyzes blood pressure and blood flow in the brain before and after spaceflight. Using a non-invasive method, scientists hope to detect possible swelling of the optic nerve earlier to prevent eye abnormalities in astronauts. Physicians on Earth currently use invasive procedures to measure intracranial pressure such as a spinal tap – inserting a needle in a person's spine. Results of this investigation can benefit patients who need to be tested for fluid on the brain, cerebral swelling or low intracranial pressure by providing a less-invasive -- yet just as effective -- solution.
Space to Ground: Moon Shadow: 08/18/17
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.
Progress was made on other investigations this week, including: At Home In Space, Fine Motor Skills, Rodent Research-5, Cool Flames, MARROW, Meteor, MagVector, Space Headaches, TReK, Neuromapping, Vascular Echo, Habitability, SPRINT, Lung Tissue, Biochem Profile, ISS Ham Radio (ARISS), and LMM Biophysics.
Lighting Effects: https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/research/experiments/2279.html
Crew sleep cycles: https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/research/catching_zs_microgravity
At Home In Space: https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/research/experiments/1988.html
Fine Motor Skills: https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/research/experiments/1767.html
Rodent Research-5: https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/research/experiments/2283.html
Cool Flames: https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/research/experiments/1947.html
Space Headaches: https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/research/experiments/181.html
Vascular Echo: https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/research/experiments/1921.html
Lung Tissue: https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/research/experiments/2399.html
Biochem Profile: https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/research/experiments/1008.html
ISS Ham Radio (ARISS): http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/research/experiments/346.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), Text, Credits: NASA/Kristine Rainey/Jorge Sotomayor, Lead Increment Scientist Expeditions 51 & 52.
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