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Lead Increment Scientist's Highlights for the Second Week of October
10.15.11
 
The International Space Station Agricultural Camera took images of a wildfire in Bastrop County, Texas on Sept. 24 The International Space Station Agricultural Camera, or ISSAC, took images of a wildfire in Bastrop County, Texas on Sept. 24. The camera takes frequent images in visible and infrared light of vegetated areas. (NASA)
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Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency Ink Ball 2 experiment demonstrates physical properties of two liquids by mixing ink with water. Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency Ink Ball 2 experiment demonstrates physical properties of two liquids by mixing ink with water. (JAXA)
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(Highlights: Second Week of October 2011) -- The International Space Station Agricultural Camera, or ISSAC, captured a total of 92 targets in North America, South America, Africa, Asia and Europe, including an image of a wildfire in Bastrop County, Texas taken on Sept. 24. The camera takes frequent images in visible and infrared light of vegetated areas. ISSAC also is used to study dynamic Earth processes around the world, such as melting glaciers, ecosystem responses to seasonal changes and human impacts, and rapid-response monitory of natural disasters.

Capillary Channel Flow, or CCF, has nearly completed the critical and subcritical flow tests for the wedge-shaped geometry. Preliminary bubble tests seem to indicate there is a flow regime where gas bubbles can be completely eliminated from the liquid flow. This could have implications for designing passive phase separation devices that could operate reliably in low gravity conditions. CCF studies a critical variety of inertial-capillary dominated flows key to spacecraft systems that cannot be studied on the ground. The results will be immediately useful for the design, testing, and instrumentation for verification and validation of liquid management systems of current orbiting, design stage and advanced spacecraft for future lunar and Mars missions.

On Sept. 30, the Light Microscopy Module, or LMM, Microscope made observations of the first of three tissue samples for the Preliminary Advanced Colloids Experiment - 2, or PACE-2. This sample contained various rodent tissues including liver, kidney, spleen, brain, heart and muscle. PACE-2 characterizes the resolution of the high magnification colloid experiments with the Light Microscopy Module to determine the minimum size of the particles that can be resolved by the future Advanced Colloids Experiment (ACE). ACE will fly samples that may have an important impact on our understanding of fundamental physics. An immediate space application for this technology demonstration is in extending the shelf-life of consumables on future long-duration missions.

Crew member Satoshi Furukawa completed the second planting for the Commercial Generic Bioprocessing Apparatus Science Insert - 05: Spiders, Fruit Flies and Directional Plant Growth, or CSI-05 experiment. All the seeds in the first planting germinated and images were taken every 30 minutes of their growth. There are currently 49,843 students participating in this experiment and that number is still growing. They represent classrooms from 47 states in the United States and 20 countries from around the world. CSI-05 utilizes the unique microgravity environment of the International Space Station as part of the K-12 classroom to encourage learning and interest in science, technology, engineering and math.

The Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency completed its Ink Ball 2 experiment on Sept. 30, as part of the Education Payload Observation 7, JAXA-EPO-7. This educational investigation demonstrates physical properties of two liquids when they become in contact in a microgravity environment. This is shown by mixing drops of ink in water. EPO 7 demonstrates educational events and artistic activities aboard the station to enlighten middle school students and the general public about microgravity research and human spaceflight.

Furukawa and Mike Fossum and performed their second and last Scaling Body-Related Actions in the Absence of Gravity, or Passages sessions on Oct. 6. This European Space Agency experiment studies how humans perceive and interpret what they see. Reacting quickly to what we see requires that the brain process an enormous amount of information from the retina in order to understand what is going on in the world around us. It is presumed, therefore, that the human brain has developed “tricks” to make the processing as quick as possible. These “short-cuts” work most of the time to allow a human being to, for instance, catch a line-drive or respond to the car that suddenly brakes in front of us. These short cuts can, however, also generate misinterpretations, leading to common visual illusions.



Jorge Sotomayor, Lead Increment Scientist
Expedition 29/30


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