jeudi 20 octobre 2016

Weekly Recap From the Expedition Lead Scientist, Week of Oct. 10, 2016

ISS - Expedition 49 Mission patch.

Oct. 20, 2016

(Highlights: Week of Oct. 10, 2016) - Crew members on the International Space Station completed more human research investigations in advance of their return home at the end of the month, working to improve the health of future space travelers and residents on Earth.

Two crew members spent time tracking how fluids move around the human body in microgravity. NASA astronaut Kate Rubins assisted JAXA (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency) astronaut Takuya Onishi with ultrasounds and measurements for the study Fluid Shifts Before, During, and After Prolonged Space Flight and Their Association with Intracranial Pressure and Visual Impairment (Fluid Shifts).

Image above: NASA astronaut Kate Rubins is seen in the window of the Cupola on the International Space Station with the Bigelow Expandable Activity Module (BEAM) in the foreground. Image Credit: NASA.

One of the main risks for humans during long-duration space missions is change in vision. More than half of American astronauts experience vision changes and other physical alterations to parts of their eyes during and after long-duration spaceflight. It is hypothesized that the fluid shift toward the head that occurs during spaceflight leads to increased pressure in the brain, which may push on the back of the eye, causing it to change shape. Fluid Shifts measures how much fluid shifts from the lower body to the upper body, in or out of cells and blood vessels, and determines the impact these shifts have on fluid pressure in the head, changes in vision and eye structures.

Scientists want to develop preventive measures against these and other physiological changes during spaceflight. Results from the Fluid Shifts investigation also may improve understanding of how blood pressure in the brain specifically affects eye shape and vision, which could benefit people confined to long-term bed rest, or suffering from disease states that increase swelling and pressure in the brain.

Onishi completed ultrasound scans for the Cardiac and Vessel Structure and Function with Long-Duration Space Flight and Recovery (Vascular Echo) study. The Canadian Space Agency (CSA) investigation examines the changes in blood vessels and the heart while crew members are in space and follows their recovery after returning to Earth.

Image above: NASA astronaut Kate Rubins takes surface samples as part of the Microbe IV investigation that monitors for germs and bacteria on the orbiting laboratory. Monitoring microbes that can cause illness is crucial for maintaining crew health and the sampling devices can be used to develop cleaner work environments in space and on Earth. Image Credit: NASA.

As humans get older on Earth, arteries can stiffen and cause an increase in blood pressure, elevating the risk of heart disease. Physicians have observed that crew members returning from the space station also have much stiffer arteries than before they went into space. The Vascular Echo investigation will give researchers a better understanding of the changes in the cardiovascular system, which may provide insight into potential countermeasures to maintain health in space and on Earth.

Rubins collected samples around the station for the Microbe-IV investigation which involves gathering samples and monitoring for germs and bacteria on the orbiting laboratory. Monitoring microbes that can cause illness is crucial for maintaining crew members' health.

The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA)-led investigation uses several passive devices to capture and sample microbes, such as bacteria and fungus, on the orbiting laboratory. The sampling devices are frozen and returned to Earth, where researchers and students count and classify the microbes. Sampling the microbial environment on the space station helps scientists monitor the station's air purity. The sampling devices for Microbe-IV can be used to develop cleaner work environments in space and on Earth. Procedures for monitoring and counting microbe populations could enable new microbe control standards for the pharmaceutical and food processing industries.

Image above: Russian cosmonaut Anatoly Ivanishin works on the Plasma Kristall-4 experiment, a scientific collaboration between the European Space Agency (ESA) and the Russian Federal Space Agency (Roscosmos), performing research in the field of "Complex Plasmas." Image Credit: NASA.

Progress was made on other investigations and facilities this week, including ISS Ham, JAXA EPO, ACE T-1, DOSIS-3D, Meteor, WetLab-2, Personal CO2 Monitors, SPHERES-SLOSH, Cell Biology Experiment Facility, and Manufacturing Device.

Other human research investigations conducted this week include Biological Rhythms-48, Biochem Profile, Cardio Ox, Repository, Body Measures, Dose Tracker, Fine Motor Skills, Habitability, Marrow, and Space Headaches.

Related links:

Fluid Shifts:

Vascular Echo:


ISS Ham:

ACE T-1:




Personal CO2 Monitors:


Cell Biology Experiment Facility:

Manufacturing Device:

Biological Rhythms-48:

Biochem Profile:

Cardio Ox:


Body Measures:

Dose Tracker:

Fine Motor Skills:



Space Headaches:

Space Station Research and Technology:

International Space Station (ISS):

Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA):

Canadian Space Agency (CSA):

Images (mentioned), Text, Credits: NASA/John Love, Acting Lead Increment Scientist Expeditions 49 & 50/Jennifer Harbaugh.

Best regards,

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