Space Station Science Highlights: Week of April 16, 2018

ISS – Expedition 55 Mission patch.

April 23, 2018

The crew members aboard the International Space Station conducted science at a slightly higher altitude last week as the space station was boosted into a higher orbit in preparation for this summer’s launching and landing activities.

International Space Station (ISS). Image Credits: NASA/STS-119

Take a look at some of the science that happened last week aboard your orbiting laboratory:

Crew relocates habitats for maintenance

Spaceflight brings an extreme environment with unique stressors. Exposure to cosmic radiation increases intracellular oxidative stresses, which can lead to DNA damage and cell death. Microgravity provokes cellular mechanical stresses and perturbs cellular signaling, leading to reduction of muscle and bone density. To overcome these space stresses, one of the promising strategies is to activate Nuclear Factor-like 2 (Nrf2), a master regulator of antioxidant pathway. Mouse Stress Defense, a JAXA investigation, tests genetically modified loss-of-Nrf2-function and gain-of-Nrf2-function in mice in the space environment and examines how Nrf2 contributes to effective prevention against the space-originated stresses.

Image above: NASA astronaut Scott Tingle works with a thawing pouch as a part of the Metabolic Tracking investigation. Image Credit: NASA.

Last week, the crew temporarily relocated the Mouse Habitat Cage Units from the Cell Biology Experiment Facility to Microgravity Science Glovebox (MSG) to perform maintenance on the units.

First harvest for APEX investigation complete

A more thorough understanding of how plants grow in space provides better life support system design and resource planning for long-term space missions. Using Brachypodium distachyon to Investigate Monocot Plant Adaptation to Spaceflight (APEX-06) is an investigation which expands our understanding of plant growth in space and provides fundamental information about plant biology on Earth.

Animation above: A view of the MISSE Sample Carrier, containing investigations from MISSE-9, being installed on to the MISSE-FF platform. Animation Credit: NASA.

Last week, the crew harvested and photographed the plants for the investigation.

New ACE investigation initiated

The Advanced Imaging, Folding, and Assembly of Colloidal Molecules (ACE-T-9) experiment involves the imaging, folding, and assembly of complex colloidal molecules within a fluid medium. This set of experiments prepares for future colloidal studies and also provides insight into the relationship between particle shape, colloidal interaction, and structure. These so-called “colloidal molecules” are vital to the design of new and more stable product mixtures.

Animation above: NASA astronaut Scott Tingle works within the Veggie facility as a part of the APEX-06 investigation. Animation Credit: NASA.

Last week, the crews finished up the previous ACE investigation (ACE-T-6) and initiated the ACE-T-9 investigation.

Space to Ground: Operating an Outpost: 04/20/2018

Other work was done on these investigations: Crew Earth Observations, Biochemical Profile, ACE-T-6, Story Time from Space, CASIS PCG-9, MSG, HDEV, CIR, SG100 Cloud Computer, MISSE-FF, TSIS, Food Acceptability, EIISS, EarthKAM, SCAN Testbed, Multi-Use Variable-g platform (MVP), Metabolic Tracking, Multi-Omics and Radi-N2.

Related links:



Crew Earth Observations:

Biochemical Profile:


Story Time from Space:





SG100 Cloud Computer:



Food Acceptability:



SCAN Testbed:

Multi-Use Variable-g platform (MVP):

Metabolic Tracking:



Spot the Station:

Space Station Research and Technology:

International Space Station (ISS):

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

Best regards, Orbiter.chArchive link

Reaching New Heights at the ESO Supernova

“Reaching New Heights” poster

On Friday 4 May, a live planetarium show — Reaching New Heights — will be presented at the ESO Supernova Planetarium & Visitor Centre. This show will take the audience on a journey around ESO’s state-of-the-art facilities, immersing them in Chile’s stunning scenery and wonderful dark skies.
As the world’s leading ground-based astronomy organisation, the European Southern Observatory (ESO) builds and operates some of the best telescopes in the world, enabling exciting astronomical discoveries and the further understanding of our fascinating Universe. Reaching New Heights provides an overview of ESO, including amazing footage of the telescopes in the Atacama Desert, scientific simulations of discoveries made with these facilities, and a peek into the future as ESO sets out to build the world’s largest optical telescope, the Extremely Large Telescope (ELT).
The event is free of charge and is aimed at the general public including children over 8 years old. The show will be presented in German by ESO Supernova coordinator Tania Johnston, who will also present an English version on 15 June. More information about the show, as well as the link to book tickets for both the German and the English screenings, can be found here. Seats should be reserved before arrival.
The ESO Supernova Planetarium & Visitor Centre will open its doors to the public on 28 April 2018. To see the full range of activities on offer and to book a place at any forthcoming events, please use the following link.

More  Information

The ESO Supernova Planetarium & Visitor Centre

The ESO Supernova Planetarium & Visitor Centre is a cooperation between the European Southern Observatory (ESO) and the Heidelberg Institute for Theoretical Studies (HITS). The building is a donation from the Klaus Tschira Stiftung (KTS), a German foundation, and ESO runs the facility.




    Tania Johnston
    ESO Supernova Coordinator
    Garching bei München, Germany
    Tel: +49 89 320 061 30

    Oana Sandu
    Community Coordinator & Communication Strategy Officer
    Tel: +49 89 320 069 65

    Archive link