Amidst a day of investigations focusing on blood pressure regulation, Columbia’s astronauts beamed down a short video tour of their scientific endeavors.
Pilot Scott Altman explained the operations of several pieces of hardware being used on board including the rotating chair which is being used to determine how the balance mechanisms of the inner ear function in microgravity. A camera, attached to the outer structure, showed Mission Control how rapidly the astronauts are rotated for these investigations.
Columbia’s science crew -- Mission Specialists Rick Linnehan and Dave Williams and Payload Specialists Jay Buckey and Jim Pawelczyk – continued their investigations into how the human nervous system adapts to the weightless environment of space, taking part in a variety of autonomic experiments today.
Much as they did Sunday, the crew members alternated as test operators and subjects in three investigations designed to measure how the blood pressure regulatory system is utilized in space. Buckey also anesthetized six 15-day old rat neonates, injecting two muscles of the hind legs with fluorescent cell marker dyes to determine whether weight-bearing muscles will develop normally in animals which have never walked on Earth.
Linnehan reported today that as a group, the youngest group of rats on board appear to be improving. One additional neonate died overnight, bringing to 51 the total number of unexpected neonate deaths. NASA Chief Veterinarian Joe Bielitzki confirmed that of the remaining 39 rats in the youngest age group, 37 are stable and eating well, and two are being tended to by Columbia’s astronauts. The crew will continue to perform routine animal welfare checks, as they have throughout the mission.
This morning, Canadian Space Agency astronaut, Dave Williams, along with pilot Scott Altman, talked with Canadian Deputy Prime Minister Herb Gray and answered questions from school children throughout Canada. Linnehan, Williams, Buckey and Pawelczyk also sent recorded comments recognizing this as the "Decade of the Brain" and acknowledging the contributions of 1906 Nobel Prize winner Santiago Ramon Y Cajal to the field of neuroscience. Cajal, along with Camillo Golgi, demonstrated that the brain is made up of individual nerve cells. A number of Cajal slides are being flown on board Columbia and will be returned to the Cajal Institute in Spain after the flight.
Columbia remains in a 153 x 133 nautical mile orbit, circling the Earth every 90 minutes. All systems on board continue to operate in excellent fashion.
The next STS-90 status report will be issued about 6 a.m. Thursday or as events warrant.
UPCOMING EVENTS ON NASA TV Thursday, April 30, 1998
MET CDT EDT
ANDY THOMAS INTERVIEW 12/21:06 10:25 AM 11:25 AM FROM THE MIR
NASA VIDEO FILE 12/21:41 11:00 AM 12:00 PM
ZDF TELEVISION INTERVIEW 13/01:25 02:45 PM 03:45 PM
MISSION STATUS BRIEFING/ 13/02:11 03:30 PM 04:30 PM
FLIGHT DAY HIGHLIGHTS 13/03:41 05:00 PM 06:00 PM
CREW ACTIVITY REPORT / 13/04:41 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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