For release: 06-22-04, w/e 06-18-04
Science Ops status report #: 04-170
Expedition 9 crewmembers have been serving as test subjects for recent experiments onboard the International Space Station. The experiments looked at the reduction in muscle size caused by weightlessness, as well as the accuracy of ultrasounds for bone scans and other medical contingencies. NASA's payload operations team at the Marshall Center coordinates science activities on the Space Station.Photo: Mike Fincke and Gennady Padalka (NASA/JSC)
The crew conducted the first of three 48-hr. in-flight diet logging sessions for the Effect of Prolonged Space Flight on Human Skeletal Muscle (BIOPSY) experiment. BIOPSY investigates the reductions in limb muscle size, force and power at the cellular level that are caused by microgravity. Crewmembers are recording their food consumption for the experiment and biopsies were taken from their calf and foot-flexing muscles before launch. Those same biopsies will be taken again immediately when they return to Earth.
The neuromuscular system is one of the human systems most affected by extended stays in space. Past space missions have shown weightlessness can cause deterioration of muscle fiber, nerves and physical strength. This research will determine how long it takes for weightlessness to affect skeletal muscles, so predictions can be made regarding muscle changes that may occur on a roundtrip flight to Mars.
The crew also served as test subjects for the Advanced Diagnostic Ultrasound in Micro-G (ADUM) experiment. NASA ISS Science Officer Mike Fincke set up the equipment, after which he and Commander Gennady Padalka performed the ultrasound bone scans on each other by taking turns as operator and subject. The bone scans were taken of the subject's shoulder, elbow, knee and ankle, monitored remotely from the ground, and videotaped and photographed for downlink.
This research will be used to determine the accuracy of ultrasound in novel clinical conditions including: orthopedic, thoracic, and ophthalmic injury and dental/sinus infections; and to assess the ultrasound as a feasible option for monitoring in-flight bone alterations.
NASA's payload operations team at the Marshall Center coordinates science activities on Space Station.
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