mardi 1 mai 2018

Space Station Science Highlights: Week of April 23, 2018

ISS - Expedition 55 Mission patch.

May 1, 2018

The Expedition 55 crew members were busy this week as they began prep work for a mid-May spacewalk in addition to many hours of scientific operations aboard the International Space Station.

Image above: The Great Lakes, as captured by NASA astronaut Ricky Arnold during a day pass. Image Credit: NASA.

Here is a look at some of the science that happened this week aboard your orbiting laboratory:

Investigation to monitor upper atmosphere continues commissioning phase

Thunderstorms in Earth’s upper atmosphere remain something of a mystery. The European Space Agency (ESA) Atmosphere-Space Interactions Monitor (ASIM) is a collection of optical cameras, photometers and a large X- and gamma-ray detector mounted on the outside of ESA’s Columbus Module on the station. For at least two years, it will observe thunderstorm-generated electrical discharges in the upper atmosphere – the stratosphere and mesosphere – up to the ionosphere, the edge of space. This Earth observation facility enables study of severe thunderstorms and their role in the Earth’s atmosphere and climate.

Since its arrival on SpaceX CRS-14, ASIM has been in the commissioning phase. Once this period ends, ASIM will enter a two-year operation phase.

New plant biology investigation initiated in Veggie facility

Future long-duration missions into the solar system will require a fresh food supply to supplement crew diets, which means growing crops in space. A new plant biology investigation, Veggie PONDS, began in the Veggie facility this week. Veggie PONDS uses a newly developed, passive nutrient delivery system to cultivate lettuce and mizuna greens which are to be harvested and consumed on orbit, with samples returned to Earth for analysis.

Animation above: Veggie PONDS was installed and its first run was initiated this week, as seen above. Animation Credit: NASA.

Once the installation was complete, crew members filled the modules with water, some of which are clear, so that the surface tension behavior could be observed.

Other plant biology investigations aboard the station include Veg-03, Plant Gravity Perception, and a recent addition to the lab, the Advanced Plant Habitat.

Crew dons sensor to track sleep and wake habits

In addition to studying alternative lighting options to improve sleeping habits in space, researchers are also examining changes in in circadian rhythms in humans during long-term spaceflight. The Circadian Rhythms investigation provides important insight into adaptations of the human autonomic nervous system in space over time, helps to improve physical exercise plans, rest- and work shifts and fosters adequate workplace illumination during future spaceflight.

Animation above: The crew removed a card containing experiment cubes from the TangoLab-1 facility this week. The TangoLab-1 locker is a reconfigurable general research facility designed for microgravity research and development and pilot manufacturing aboard the space station. Animation Credit: NASA.

This week, JAXA astronaut Norishige Kanai donned the Thermolab Double sensor, a wearable sensor, and then removed it 36 hours later.

Other work was done on these investigations: Crew Earth Observations, Mouse Stress Defense, CASIS PCG-9, HDEV, CIR, DOSIS-3D, Meteor, AstroPi, MERLIN, ACME E-FIELD Flames, Space Pup, ACE-T-9, Food Acceptability, SCAN Testbed, Metabolic Tracking, MISSE-FF, VESSEL-ID, NR-Module 66, Made in Space Fiber Optics, and SPHERES.

Space to Ground: Color of the Sun: 04/27/2018

Related links:

Atmosphere-Space Interactions Monitor (ASIM):


Veggie PONDS:


Plant Gravity Perception:

Advanced Plant Habitat:

Sleeping habits in space:

Circadian Rhythms:

Crew Earth Observations:









Space Pup:


Food Acceptability:

SCAN Testbed:

Metabolic Tracking:



NR-Module 66:

Made in Space Fiber Optics:


SpaceX CRS-14:

Spot the Station:

Space Station Research and Technology:

International Space Station (ISS):

Image (mentioned), Animations (mentioned), Video, Text, Credits: NASA/Michael Johnson/Yuri Guinart-Ramirez, Lead Increment Scientist Expeditions 55 & 56/NASA Johnson.

Best regards,

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