NASA, the American Astronautical Society and the Center for the Advancement of Science in Space (CASIS) have announced 14 awards for the top research and technology achievements of 2013 made possible by the International Space Station.
The third annual International Space Station Research and Development Conference in Chicago this week brought together the best investigators in academia, industry and government to discuss the broad scope of research and technology development on the space station. This research not only supports NASA in preparing astronauts for long-duration missions farther into the solar system than ever before, but it also provides lasting benefits to life on Earth.
Past, present and potential participants of space station research and technology development attended the conference to share, learn and expand the possibilities for future microgravity research. The event also provided a forum for researchers interested in sending their research projects to the orbiting laboratory to learn more about the benefits to both individual research projects and entire industries and scientific disciplines.
"The goal of this conference is to bring people together to share their stories, findings and experiences and to entice, excite and encourage all to bring forward new ideas to capitalize on the unique opportunity for microgravity research," said Allyson Thorn of NASA's International Space Station Research Integration Office at the agency's Johnson Space Center in Houston. "This will be an exciting decade for the space station as we continue to learn more and turn ideas into opportunities, results and plans for humanity's future."
The theme of this year's conference was discoveries, applications and opportunities: discoveries in microgravity, space and Earth science, as well as engineering and education; applications benefitting Earth, enabling technology and forwarding exploration; and opportunities for use of this innovative laboratory.
The awards are presented to recognize investigations and technological developments that support NASA's long-term missions of exploration and improving life on Earth. The winners represent two companies, six governmental organizations and six universities from 12 states, Japan and Russia. The award categories were: most compelling results; biotechnology, health and education; engineering development and technology maturation, with a focus on commercial and exploration applications; and, discoveries.
Four awards recognized the Most Compelling Results from the space station in 2013:
- Carl Carruthers, Jr., Ph.D., of NanoRacks LLC, in recognition of his work with protein crystal growth methods in microgravity;
- Nabarun Chakraborty, M.S., M.B.A., U.S. Army Center for Environmental Health Research, in recognition of his findings on how microgravity alters host immune responses in vitro: multi -omics approach. The term “-omics” referring to collective technologies, such as genomics purposed to study the holistic health of biomolecules.
- Jeffrey Hastings, M.D., University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, on behalf of principal investigators Ben Levine, M.D., and Mike Bungo, M.D., in recognition of integrated cardiovascular results.
- Matthew Lynch, Ph.D., Procter and Gamble, in recognition of taking consumer product design to entirely new heights.
Four awards recognized achievement in Biotechnology, Health and Education:
- Timothy Hammond, M.B., B.S., U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and Duke University School of Medicine, Durham, North Carolina, in recognition of top results for the National Laboratory Pathfinder-Vaccine-Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (NLP-Vaccine-MRSA), NLP-Vaccine-Salmonella and NLP-Vaccine-Survey.
- Jacob Bloomberg, Ph.D., NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston, in recognition of top results for the Functional Task Test and understanding the effects of long-duration space flight on astronaut functional task performance.
- Alvar Saenz-Otero, Ph.D., Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, in recognition for top results for the Zero Robotics: ISS Programming Challenge.
- Karen Flammer, Ph.D., Sally Ride Science and University of California, San Diego (UCSD), in recognition for top results for Sally Ride EarthKAM (Earth Knowledge Acquired by Middle School Students).
The three recipients of the award for top Engineering Development and Technology Maturation with a Focus on Commercial and Exploration Applications are:
- Gabriel Lapilli, research engineer at the Florida Institute of Technology, in recognition of outstanding results from the SPHERES-Slosh investigation.
- Vladimir Grigoriev, Russian Federal Space Agency, Systems of Precision Instrument Making, in recognition of an investigation that conducted in-flight testing of a laser communications system on the Russian segment of the space station.
- Jeffrey Sweterlitsch, Ph.D., Principal Investigator in the Life Support Systems Branch at NASA’s Johnson Space Center, in recognition of outstanding results from the Amine Swingbed technology.
The three winners of the award for Top Discoveries in Microgravity are:
- Mitsuteru Sato, Ph.D., Hokkaido University, Sapporo, Japan, in recognition of top results for the Global Lightning and sprIte MeasurementS on the Japanese Experiment Module Exposed Facility (JEM-GLMIS): First Qualitative Nadir Observations of Lightning and Transient Luminous Events (TLE).
- Rohit Trivedi, Ph.D., Iowa State University in Ames, in recognition of top results for breathing modes in cellular interface pattern formation for the DEvice for the study of Critical LIquids and Crystallization-Directional Solidification Insert-Reflight (DECLIC DSI-R) study.
- Kim de Groh, NASA's Glenn Research Center in Cleveland, in recognition of top results for Materials International Space Station Experiment (MISSE) Collaboration for Materials Testing on the space station.