[image-50]American scientists and researchers have a new way to find out how specific materials fared after years of exposure to the space environment. Since the International Space Station’s early days, an experiment called the Materials International Space Station Experiment, or MISSE, has exposed almost 4,000 material samples to the space environment. Data from MISSE can now be easily accessed with a new online tool.
The online MISSE database contains a large amount of materials test data that may lead to the production of longer-lived spacecraft and satellites. The informatics database falls under the umbrella of the Materials and Processes Technical Information System (MAPTIS) -- a ready source for materials properties for NASA and NASA-associated contractors and organizations. The system has physical, mechanical and environmental properties for metallic and non-metallic materials.
"This effort was funded by the International Space Station Program Office to capture this knowledge into one location, leveraging the wealth of space environmental effects data into something designers and engineers could and would use," said Julie Robinson, Ph.D., chief scientist in the Program Science Office at NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston.
MISSE ran from 2001 to 2013 as an external fixture outside the space station. The project evaluated the performance, stability and long-term survivability of materials and components planned for use by NASA, commercial companies and the U.S. Department of Defense on future low-Earth orbit, synchronous orbit and interplanetary space missions.
When researchers design spacecraft, they need to understand how quickly a material can erode due to atomic reaction in space. These kinds of databases have value for science and engineering because they identify materials that can withstand harsh conditions. MISSE has provided affordable access to space for many materials experiments that could not have flown separately due to cost constraints, potentially saving more than $150 million by providing environmental and materials data for other spacecraft and missions..
"We are enabling open source innovation to stimulate our research community and create many more new opportunities for science," said Marshall Porterfield, Ph.D., division director for Space Life and Physical Sciences at NASA Headquarters in Washington. "As we create these informatics databases, we're essentially stockpiling future research opportunities, ensuring we can continue to support the community and make scientific progress."
The MISSE Database was organized, configured and loaded by the Informatics Team at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama.
"The Marshall Center's technical capabilities and engineering expertise are vitally important to the nation's goal of sending humans into deep space," said Preston Jones, deputy director of Marshall's Engineering Directorate. "With the development of this database, we are helping to advance space technologies, sparking economic development, and expanding our knowledge so we can share it with the science community -- inspiring the next-generation of explorers to keep the mission alive."
MISSE Database access is available to anyone who acquires a MAPTIS account by applying at the MAPTIS website: http://maptis.nasa.gov/.
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