ISS – Expedition 55 Mission patch.
March 16, 2018
The crew members aboard the International Space Station were busy this week with educational downlinks, emergency training and many hours of scientific operations, while also preparing for three new crew members to arrive following their March 21 launch.
Take a look at some of the science that happened this week aboard your orbiting laboratory:
Investigation studies changes to brain structure and function in spaceflight
Previous research and anecdotal evidence from astronauts suggests movement control and cognition can be affected in microgravity. Using MRI and fMRI imaging, NeuroMapping investigates whether long-duration spaceflight causes changes to brain structure and function. Changes in motor control or multi-tasking abilities are documented as well as the time it takes for the brain and body to recover from possible changes.
Image above: Cosmonaut Anton Shkaplerov and other crew members ate some of the red romaine lettuce that was harvested from the VEG-03 experiment. Image Credit: NASA.
This week, NASA astronaut Scott Tingle and JAXA astronaut Norishige Kanai completed NeuroMapping tests in both the “strapped in” and “free-floating” body configurations. The data were collected and downlinked to ground crews.
Crew members conduct fluid mechanics experiments
Using a Slosh study and a Wave Turbulence study, the FLUIDICS investigation examines fluid behavior under microgravity during satellite maneuvers and the impact of capillary effect on wave turbulence without being masked by the effect of gravity.
Beyond a better understanding of fluid movements and fuel tank development for future spacecraft, this experiment also helps to provide a better understanding of how the Earth’s oceans work, including the phenomenon of ‘rogue waves’. More broadly, the expected results could help to improve climate prediction systems, and optimize the use of ocean renewable energy.
Image above: Dwarf wheat stalks grow in the Advanced Plant Habitat, a fully automated facility that is being used to support plant bioscience research on the space station in a large, enclosed, environmentally controlled chamber. Image Credit: NASA.
This week, the crew members executed two runs of the FLUIDICS investigation.
Crew begins first week of new ACME operations
The Advanced Combustion Microgravity Experiment (ACME) investigation is a set of studies of gaseous flames to be conducted in the Combustion Integration Rack (CIR), one of which being Electric-Field Effects on Laminar Diffusion Flames (E-FIELD Flames).
In E-FIELD Flames, an electric field with voltages as high as 10,000 volts is established between the burner and a mesh electrode. The motion of the charged ions, which are naturally produced within the flame, are strongly affected by a high-voltage electric field. The resulting ion-driven wind can dramatically influence the stability and sooting behavior of the flame. Measurements are made of electric-field strength, the ion current passing through the flame, and flame characteristics such as the size, structure, temperature, soot, and stability. Conducting the tests in microgravity enables new understanding and the development of less polluting and more efficient combustion technology for use on Earth.
This week marks the first week of E-FIELD flames operations with a very successful first set of ten flames ignited for studying the effects of an electric field on laminar diffusion flames. Preliminary results show that the high-voltage electric field created forces similar to buoyancy. This effect dramatically affected the flame’s shape, intensity, and soot production.
Other work was done on these investigations: Crew Earth Observations, Veg-03, EMCS, MagVector, Space Headaches, Wisenet, Transparent Alloys, DOSIS-3D, EIISS, Lighting Effects, ELF, Meteor, Two Phase Flow, Manufacturing Device, Airway Monitoring, Radi-N2, and Plant Habitat.
Advanced Combustion Microgravity Experiment (ACME): https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/research/experiments/explorer/Investigation.html?#id=1651
Combustion Integration Rack (CIR): https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/research/experiments/explorer/Facility.html?#id=317
Electric-Field Effects on Laminar Diffusion Flames (E-FIELD Flames): https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/research/experiments/explorer/Investigation.html?#id=2058
Crew Earth Observations: https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/research/experiments/explorer/Investigation.html?#id=84
Transparent Alloys: https://www.eusoc.upm.es/transparent-alloys/
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), Video (NASA), Text, Credits: NASA/Michael Johnson/Yuri Guinart-Ramirez, Lead Increment Scientist Expeditions 55 & 56.
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