ISS - Expedition 53 Mission patch / ISS - Expedition 52 Mission patch.
Sept. 7, 2017
International Space Station (ISS). Image Credit: NASA
(Highlights: Week of August 28, 2017) - As International Space Station crew members Peggy Whitson, Jack Fischer and Fyodor Yurchikhin packed their bags to return to Earth, their thoughts were with the residents of the Gulf Coast of Texas -- which includes many colleagues at NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston -- as Hurricane Harvey struck the area, causing severe flooding and devastation. However, they also continued a record-breaking run of science on the orbiting laboratory. During Expedition 52, crew science activities averaged more than 60 hours a week, eclipsing the previous average of around 45 hours a week.
A lot of these final investigations before returning to Earth involve research of the effects of long-duration space travel on humans. Crew members performed an investigation examining the environment in which they live and work from a practical and psychological point of view with the Habitability Assessment of International Space Station (Habitability). This investigation gives station residents the opportunity to make observations about the orbiting laboratory they call home.
Image above: NASA astronaut Peggy Whitson works on cell transfers using the Advanced Space Experiment Processor (ADSEPT) for the Cardiac Myocytes investigation on the International Space Station. Image Credit: NASA.
For crew members on long-duration space missions, cabin designs must balance comfort and efficiency. The crew's thoughts and ideas can help spacecraft designers understand how much habitable volume is needed, including whether a mission's duration impacts how much personal space crew members need. The crew answers questionnaires and records video tours while making suggestions on layout and internal design. Results from the Habitability investigation will provide insight and contribute to the design of future spacecraft. It may also apply to workers who live and work in confined spaces with limited volume and resources on Earth, such as remote polar research stations, ocean drilling rigs or mines.
Astronauts also completed a session for the Effects of Long-Duration Microgravity on Fine Motor Skills (Fine Motor Skills) investigation. Fine motor skills are crucial for successfully interacting with touch-based technologies, repairing sensitive equipment and a variety of other tasks. The investigation is the first fine motor skills study to measure long-term microgravity exposure, different phases of microgravity adaptation and sensorimotor recovery after returning to Earth’s gravity. The investigation involves a series of interactive tasks on a touchscreen tablet and may have wide-reaching benefits for elderly patients, people with motor disorders or patients with brain injuries on Earth undergoing rehabilitation for conditions that impair fine motor control.
Image above: Space station crew members captured this image as they passed over Hurricane Harvey on Aug. 30. The storm caused major devastation to the Gulf Coast of Texas and NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston was forced to temporarily close as a safety precaution. Image Credit: NASA.
A study of the immune system of astronauts, which is altered during spaceflight, was also conducted on the space station. The Functional Immune Alterations, Latent Herpesvirus Reactivation, Psychological Stress and Clinical Incidence Onboard the International Space Station (Functional Immune) investigation analyzes blood and saliva samples to determine the changes taking place in crew members' immune systems during flight. Any change, so far away from readily available treatment, could increase the likelihood of adverse health events in space travelers. This study looks for environmental, human and stress-related factors as they relate to immunity levels. Results are expected to provide new insight into the health risks of long-duration space travel. The investigation also provides a unique view of the subtle changes in the immune system that may occur before symptoms become evident. This could help scientists and doctors pinpoint the onset of a particular illness and suggest treatments to boost the immune system and prevent full-blown infections and diseases on Earth.
Jack and Peggy's Excellent Adventure
Video above: NASA released an edited video stream of a recent EVA by NASA astronauts Peggy Whitson and Jack Fischer. They were wearing small high-definition cameras and NASA added the space to ground audio to give viewers a new perspective of what it is like to go on a spacewalk outside the International Space Station. Video Credit: NASA.
Progress was made on other investigations this week, including: Lighting Effects, STaARS BioScience, Biochem Profile, STaARS-iFUNGUS, Body Measures, Genes in Space-4, NeuroMapping, Meteor, Lung Tissue, Microbial Tracking, Cool Flames, and ISS Ham Radio (ARISS).
Habitability Assessment of International Space Station (Habitability): https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/research/experiments/1772.html
Fine Motor Skills: http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/research/experiments/1767.html
Functional Immune: https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/research/experiments/2277.html
Lighting Effects: https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/research/experiments/2279.html
STaARS BioScience: https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/research/experiments/2512.html
Biochem Profile: http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/research/experiments/1008.html
Body Measures: https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/research/experiments/1070.html
Genes in Space-4: https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/research/experiments/2524.html
Lung Tissue: https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/research/experiments/2399.html
Microbial Tracking: https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/research/experiments/1920.html
Cool Flames: https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/research/experiments/1947.html
ISS Ham Radio (ARISS): http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/research/experiments/346.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