ISS - Expedition 53 Mission patch.
Oct. 26, 2017
(Highlights: Week of October 16, 2017) - As the third round of spacewalks for October wrapped up last week, astronauts aboard the International Space Station conducted research that could contribute to better sleep in space and back on Earth, and set up a crystal growth experiment that could contribute to the development of better pharmaceuticals back on Earth.
Image above: ESA astronaut Paolo Nespoli made amateur radio contacts with students in Ireland, Sweden and Italy last week. He can be seen wearing the Drager Double Sensor, which measures core temperature and body chemistry to see how microgravity can alter the circadian rhythm. Image Credits: NASA.
A crew member completed a 36-hour session of data collection for the Circadian Rhythms investigation. Getting a good night’s sleep is important to the health of astronauts in space, as well as people on Earth. Circadian Rhythms studies how the “biological clock” of crew members changes during long-duration spaceflight. During missions, astronauts experience reduced physical activity, and changes in body composition and body temperature. Understanding how these phenomena affect the biological clock could improve performance and health for future crew members. Results could also help treat sleep disorders on Earth, and help people who do shift work or suffer from jet lag.
European Space Agency astronaut Paolo Nespoli installed canister bags as part of the JAXA Protein Crystallization Growth (JAXA PCG) investigation. The canisters contain protein samples prepared by Japanese and Russian researchers from universities, national research institutes, and the private sector in hopes of obtaining high quality protein crystals, and will return to Earth aboard Soyuz 51S after having run for about nine weeks.
Image above: NASA astronaut Joe Acaba captured photo documentation of the growth progress of the current crop of plants in the Veggie facility. This is the first time a mix variety of three leafy greens will be grown at the same time: mizuna, red romaine lettuce, and Wehldmon’s green lettuce. Image Credit: NASA.
Crystals grown on Earth are impacted by gravity, which may affect the way the molecules align on the surface of the crystal. Researchers have discovered that growing crystals aboard the space station allows for slower growth and higher quality crystals. Detailed analysis of high quality protein crystal structures is useful in designing new pharmaceuticals and catalysts for a wide range of industries.
During the week, Nespoli spoke with students in Ireland, Sweden and Italy via several amateur radio contacts. International Space Station Ham Radio also known as Amateur Radio on the International Space Station (ARISS)) allows groups of students in schools, camps, museums and planetariums to hold a conversation with the people living in space. As the orbiting laboratory passes overhead, students have between five and eight minutes to ask crew members 10 to 20 questions.
Space to Ground: Teacher On Board: 10/20/2017
Video above: NASA's Space to Ground is your weekly update on what's happening aboard the International Space Station. Video Credit: NASA.
Progress was also made on the following investigations last week: Veg-03, Meteor, Biochemical Profile, Fine Motor Skills, Space Headaches, ACE-T-6, Nano Step and MED-2.
Circadian Rhythms: https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/research/experiments/892.html
JAXA Protein Crystallization Growth (JAXA PCG): https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/research/experiments/157.html
Radio on the International Space Station (ARISS): https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/research/experiments/346.html
Biochemical Profile: https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/research/experiments/1008.html
Fine Motor Skills: https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/research/experiments/1767.html
Space Headaches: https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/research/experiments/181.html
Nano Step: https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/research/experiments/783.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/Michael Johnson/John Love, Lead Increment Scientist Expeditions 53 & 54.
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