The seven-member crew of Columbia completed another productive day of scientific activity, focusing today on understanding blood pressure regulation in microgravity.
The science crew of astronauts Rick Linnehan, Dave Williams, Jay Buckey and Jim Pawelczyk, continued their investigations into the adaptation of the human nervous system to the weightlessness of space. Both Buckey and Pawelczyk took turns as subjects in the Lower Body Negative Pressure unit, a device which puts the same stresses on their cardiovascular system as what they would experience if they were standing here on Earth.
The astronauts also infused radioactively-labeled neorepinephrine into the blood stream and collected blood samples. Neorepinephrine is a chemical messenger that will allow investigators to measure how fast the substance is released into and removed from the blood’s circulation and determines whether the blood pressure control system is underutilized in the absence of gravity.
Investigations on the "rotating chair" continued today as Linnehan and Williams participated in that study to understand how microgravity affects the vestibular, or balance, system.
In addition to science activities, the crew members are continuing to conduct welfare checks of the rat neonates on board Columbia. In a conversation with NASA Chief Veterinary Officer Joe Bielitzki, Linnehan reported that the crew had provided fluid and nourishment to all the neonates and that most seemed to be responding well.
Members of Neurolab’s Mammalian Development Team continue to re-prioritize their science activities because of the unexpectedly high mortality rate being experienced among the rat neonates. During a press conference this afternoon, mission managers reported that an additional 4 young rats had died in the past 24 hours, two due to maternal neglect and two having to be euthanised because of ill health, bringing to 50 the number of neonates that have been lost during the flight. Forty of the original complement of 96 neonates remain, with six having been euthanised as part of scientific protocols during the course of the flight.
Searfoss and Williams talked with three Canadian media outlets today, discussing their mission and scientific activities. Linnehan spoke with students at the North Carolina State College of Veterinary Medicine, fielding questions from a number of students on the nature of his scientific research.
The crew will begin their sleep period at 8:29 p.m. today. Tomorrow’s activities will once again focus on studies of the human autonomic, or blood pressure regulatory system.
Columbia remains in a 153 x 133 nautical mile orbit, circling the Earth every 90 minutes.
The next STS-90 status report will be issued about 6 a.m. Wednesday or as events warrant.
UPCOMING EVENTS ON NASA TV Wednesday, April 29, 1998
MET CDT EDT
CANADIAN VIP CALL 11/21:15 10:34 AM 11:34 AM
NASA VIDEO FILE 11/21:41 11:00 AM 12:00 PM
CREW CHOICE TELEVISION 11/23:30 12:49 PM 01:49 PM
MISSION STATUS BRIEFING / 12/00:11 01:30 PM 02:30 PM HUMAN SCIENCE BRIEFING
FLIGHT DAY HIGHLIGHTS 12/03:41 05:00 PM 06:00 PM
CREW ACTIVITY REPORT / 12/04:41 06:00 PM 07:00 PM FLIGHT DAY HIGHLIGHTS REPLAY / VIDEO FILE REPLAY (replayed every hour on the hour through crew wake up)
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