(Highlights: week of Jan. 14, 2013) - NASA astronaut Thomas Marshburn performed a Capillary Flow Experiment-2 (CFE-2) fluid test run with the vane gap-2 hardware onboard the International Space Station. This suite of fluid physics experiments investigates how fluids move up surfaces in microgravity. The results aim to improve current computer models used by designers of low-gravity fluid systems and may improve fluid transfer systems for water on future spacecraft.
Canadian Space Agency astronaut Chris Hadfield performed an Investigating the Structure of Paramagnetic Aggregates from Colloidal Emulsions-3 (InSPACE-3) run. To date, 20 of the 36 runs are complete. The principal investigator has identified 11 additional InSPACE-3 runs, including three runs to be performed without the magnetic field. InSPACE-3 studies the fundamental behavior of magnetic colloidal fluids under the influence of various magnetic fields. This technology has promise to improve the ability to design structures, such as bridges and buildings, to better withstand earthquake forces.
Commander Kevin Ford deployed and attached the Robonauttaskboard in the Destiny laboratory in preparation for taskboard operations. Robonaut worked with task panel A, which is a series of valves similar to parts that might be found in space hardware, manipulating the powered button panel. Then Robonaut used its updated vision recognition software to look for color variation using saturation and intensity signatures. After capturing additional data points, Robonaut closed the power panel cover and moved to its stow post for power down. Robonaut serves as a springboard to help evolve new robotic capabilities in space. It demonstrates that a dexterous robot can launch and operate in a space vehicle, manipulate mechanisms in a microgravity environment, operate for an extended duration within the space environment, assist with tasks and eventually interact with the crew members.
Marshburn retrieved adhesive from the Minus Eighty-Degree Laboratory Freezer for ISS (MELFI) in preparation for the Ultrasonic Background Noise Test (UBNT). Ford then installed UBNT sensors behind racks in Destiny. The investigation will record the high-frequency noise levels generated by space station hardware and equipment operating within Destiny and the Node 3 modules. Engineers are using this information to help develop an automated leak location system for current and future manned spacecraft. The system is based on the ultrasonic noise generated by air leaking through a space structure's pressure wall. Leak detection is crucial to providing safe spacecraft for crews on long missions.
Other human research investigations continued for various crew members including Integrated Cardiovascular, Nutrition, Repository, and Dietary Intake Can Predict and Protect Against Changes in Bone Metabolism During Spaceflight and Recovery, or Pro K.
Vic Cooley, Lead Increment Scientist