ISS – Expedition 57 Mission patch.
Oct. 15, 2018
Last week’s departure of Expedition 56 astronauts marked the start of Expedition 57 and a new commander of the International Space Station, Alexander Gerst of the European Space Agency. Current crew members also include NASA astronauts Serena Auñón-Chancellor and Russian cosmonaut Sergey Prokopyev.
The Soyuz MS-10 spacecraft carrying Nick Hague of NASA and Alexey Ovchinin of the Russian space agency Roscosmos launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan at 3:40 a.m. CDT on Thursday. Shortly after launch, an anomaly with the booster resulted in an abort of the ascent to orbit and a ballistic landing of the spacecraft in Kazakhstan. Hague and Ovchinin were recovered from the capsule and are in good condition. Crew aboard the station were informed and continue to operate the station and conduct important scientific research.
Image above: NASA astronaut Nick Hague and Alexey Ovchinin of Roscomos launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan at 3:40 a.m. CDT on Thursday. Shortly after launch, an anomaly with the booster resulted in an abort of the ascent to orbit and a ballistic landing of the spacecraft in Kazakhstan. Both are in good condition. Image Credit: NASA.
Research last week included investigations related to human health and performance, and growing better protein crystals.
Advancing DNA and RNA sequencing in space continues
Crew members conducted operations with the Biomolecule Sequencer for the BEST investigation. This study seeks to advance use of DNA and RNA sequencing in space, using sequencing to identify microbial organisms living on the space station and to help determine how humans, plants and microbes adapt to life there.
Image above: The Biomolecule Extraction and Sequencing Technology (BEST) biomolecule sequencer floats in the International Space Station above a view of Earth. Image Credit: NASA.
Samples collected for ongoing look at effects of spaceflight
For the Biochemical Profile investigation, a crew member collected blood and urine samples at 120 days into spaceflight. The investigation tests blood and urine samples before, during, and after spaceflight to analyze biomarkers, or specific proteins and chemicals in the samples used as indicators of health. Scientists can use a database of post-flight analysis of samples and test results to study the effects of spaceflight on the human body.
A cooler way to create crystals
The crew prepared JAXA LT PCG samples and placed them in the Stirling-Cycle Refrigerator (FROST) to begin the process of producing high-quality protein crystals in microgravity at low temperatures. This new technique contributes to the development of new drugs by revealing disease-related protein structure, and to the production of new catalysts for the environmental and energy industries.
Animation above: The JAXA LT PCG investigation grows high quality protein crystals in microgravity to determine protein structures in detail. Last week, crew members prepared the samples and placed them in the FROST facility aboard the station. Animation Credit: NASA.
And a closer look at crystal formation
Also last week, crew members reconfigured the Fluids Integrated Rack (FIR) Light Microscopy Module (LMM) Biophysics facility for the LMM Biophysics 4 investigation. Proteins are important biological molecules that, when crystallized, provide better views of their structure that help scientists understand how they work. Proteins crystallized in microgravity are often higher in quality than those grown on Earth, and LMM Biophysics 4 examines the movement of single protein molecules in microgravity in order to determine why this is so.
Other work was done on these investigations:
– Food Acceptability examines changes in how food appeals to crew members during their time aboard the station. Acceptability of food – whether crew members like and actually eat something – may directly affect crew caloric intake and associated nutritional benefits: https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/research/experiments/explorer/Investigation.html?#id=7562
– Sextant Navigation tests a hand-held sextant instrument that could provide emergency navigation for future manned spacecraft: https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/research/news/Sextant_ISS
– BCAT-CS studies dynamic forces between sediment particles that cluster together: https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/research/experiments/explorer/Investigation.html?#id=7668
– The Life Sciences Glovebox (LSG) is a sealed work area that accommodates life science and technology investigations in a workbench-type environment. Due to its larger size, two crew members can work in the LSG simultaneously: https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/research/experiments/explorer/Facility.html?#id=7676
– Meteor is a visible spectroscopy instrument used to observe meteors in Earth orbit: https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/research/experiments/explorer/Investigation.html?#id=1174
– ACME E-FIELD Flames studies the stability and sooting behavior of flames in microgravity to support development of less polluting and more efficient combustion technology for use on Earth: https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/research/experiments/explorer/Investigation.html?#id=2058
Crew in Good Condition After Booster Failure:
Soyuz MS-10 – Emergency landing after a failure:
Spot the Station: https://spotthestation.nasa.gov/
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), Animations (mentioned), Text, Credits: NASA/Michael Johnson/Vic Cooley, Lead Increment Scientist Expeditions 57/58.
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