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Weekly Recap From the Expedition Lead Scientist
May 7, 2013
 

Students capture an image of the Great Barrier Reef in the Coral Sea off the coast of Queensland, Australia, using a special digital camera mounted aboard the International Space Station during an EarthKAM spring session. Students capture an image of the Great Barrier Reef in the Coral Sea off the coast of Queensland, Australia, using a special digital camera mounted aboard the International Space Station during an EarthKAM spring session. (NASA)
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(Highlights: week of April 22, 2013) - The Expedition 35 crew conducted an Earth Knowledge Acquired by Middle School Students (EarthKAM) spring session. More than 29,600 students at 411 schools participated, and 3,747 images have been downlinked and posted to the EarthKAM website. EarthKAM is a NASA education program that enables thousands of students to photograph and examine Earth from a space crew's perspective. Using the Internet, the students control a special digital camera mounted aboard the International Space Station. This enables them to photograph the Earth's coastlines, mountain ranges and other geographic items of interest from the unique vantage point of space. The team at EarthKAM then posts these photographs on the Internet for the public and participating classrooms around the world to view.

Canadian Space Agency astronaut Chris Hadfield, Expedition 35 commander, and NASA astronaut Tom Marshburn completed the fourth and final session of Reversible Figures. This investigates whether the perception of ambiguous perspective-reversible figures (figure that can normally be seen to change in perspective or orientation in two different ways) is affected by microgravity. A comparison of the perceived reversals during visualization of the figures in crew members occurs before, during and after long-term exposure to microgravity. It is expected that measurable, perceptual differences can expand our understanding of human cognitive-perception dynamics by examining the differences that exist between the microgravity environment of the space station and that of the Earth's surface.

Hadfield completed the first of two blood draws for the Cardiovascular Health Consequences of Long-Duration Spaceflight (Vascular) investigation. This research is performed to determine the impact of long-duration spaceflight on the blood vessels of astronauts. Spaceflight accelerates the aging process, and we must understand this to determine the need for specific countermeasures. Data will be collected before, during and after spaceflight to assess inflammation of the artery walls, and changes in blood vessel properties and cardiovascular fitness. This experiment also will contribute to obtaining a better understanding of the mechanisms that might contribute to premature aging of the cardiovascular system, and detect early markers of potential atherosclerosis (condition in which fatty material collects along the walls of arteries) and inflammation.

To learn more about cardiovascular research and the effects of long-duration spaceflight on the human body, watch the video below:





NASA astronaut Chris Cassidy set up sample five of the Binary Colloidal Alloy Test-3 (BCAT-3) and took test photos using the EarthKAM camera. The camera will now take automated photos of this experiment for seven days. BCAT-3 hardware supported three investigations in which station crews photographed samples of colloidal particles (tiny nanoscale spheres suspended in liquid) to document liquid/gas phase changes, growth of binary crystals and the formation of colloidal crystals confined to a surface. Colloids are small enough that in a microgravity environment without sedimentation and convection, they behave similarly to atoms. They can be used to model all sorts of phenomena because their size, shape and interactions can be controlled. Increased knowledge of some of the areas may have future benefits in the application of the same physical processes on Earth. The binary alloy experiment provides information that may allow improvement of fiber optics, and allow development of new computers that process data with light instead of electricity.

Human research investigations continued for various crew members including Circadian Rhythms, Repository, Nutrition, Space Headaches, Reaction Self Test, and Dietary Intake Can Predict and Protect Against Changes in Bone Metabolism During Spaceflight and Recovery (Pro K).

Jorge Sotomayor, Lead Increment Scientist
Expedition 35/36


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