ISS – Expedition 55 Mission patch.
April 13, 2018
With the dust settling from the recent arrival of SpaceX CRS-14, the Expedition 55 crew members aboard the International Space Station had a week chock full of new and old science investigations to be commenced, continued and completed.
Image above: Destiny, the U.S. Laboratory aboard the space station. The pink glow from the Veggie plant growth facility in Columbus can be seen ahead in Node 2. Image Credit: NASA.
Take a look at some of the science that happened this week aboard your orbiting laboratory:
Student investigation studies alterations in DNA
Spaceflight causes many changes to the human body, including alterations in DNA and a weakened immune system. Understanding whether these two processes are linked is important for safeguarding crew health. Genes in Space-5, a student-designed investigation, tests whether the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) can be used to study DNA alterations aboard the space station.
Image above: The NASA astronaut Ricky Arnold processes DNA samples in the miniPCR. Image Credit: NASA.
In addition to providing valuable information about maintaining crew health in space, results from Genes in Space-5 provides a deeper understanding of the human immune system on Earth and provides students a direct, hands-on connection to science in space.
This week, the crew processed samples in the miniPCR and then transferred the data for downlink to Earth.
Crew deploys radiation detectors throughout space station
The RaDI-N2 Neutron Field Study (Radi-N2) measures neutron radiation levels aboard the orbiting laboratory using Space Bubble Detectors. Results from this investigation may provide a better understanding of the connections between neutron radiation and DNA damage and mutation rates, symptoms that affect some astronauts, and other radiation health issues on Earth.
This week, crew members deployed eight Space Bubble Detectors, designed to detect neutrons and ignore all other forms of radiation.
Final harvest completed for VEG-03, facility prepared for APEX-06
Future long-duration missions into the solar system will require a fresh food supply to supplement crew diets, which means growing crops in space.
The Veg-03 investigation expands on previous validation tests of the new Veggie hardware, which crew members used to grow cabbage, lettuce and other fresh vegetables in space. This investigation marked the first time that two grow-outs have been initiated using two Veggie facilities in parallel aboard the space station.
This week, crew members completed the final harvest for the investigation, some for preservation and some for crew consumption.
Image above: NASA astronaut Scott Tingle with the final crops of the VEG-03 investigation. Image Credit: NASA.
The next investigation to be conducted in the Veggie facility is Using Brachypodium distachyon to Investigate Monocot Plant Adaptation to Spaceflight (APEX-06), an investigation which expands our understanding of plant growth in space and provides fundamental information about plant biology on Earth.
Other work was done on these investigations: Crew Earth Observations, Microbial Tracking-2, CBEF, Biochemical Profile, Polar, Story Time from Space, Plant Gravity Perception, Veg-03, CASIS PCG-9, MSG, CIR, MISSE-FF, SABL, Space Pup, EIISS, EarthKAM, Tango Lab Payload Card-6, Tango Lab-2, Multi-Use Variable-g platform (MVP), Metabolic Tracking, and SPHERES Tether Slosh.
Space Bubble Detectors: http://www.asc-csa.gc.ca/eng/sciences/osm/detector.asp
RaDI-N2 Neutron Field Study (Radi-N2): https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/research/experiments/explorer/Investigation.html?#id=874
Crew Earth Observations: https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/research/experiments/explorer/Investigation.html?#id=84
Plant Gravity Perception: https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/research/experiments/explorer/Investigation.html?#id=2019
Tango Lab Payload Card-6: http://www.spacetango.com/blog/2018/4/1/whats-flying-a-look-at-space-tango-crs-14-payloads
Multi-Use Variable-g platform (MVP): https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/research/experiments/explorer/Facility.html?#id=1777
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, Text, Credits: NASA/Michael Johnson/Yuri Guinart-Ramirez, Lead Increment Scientist Expeditions 55 & 56/NASA Johnson.
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