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Lead Increment Scientist's Highlights For The Week of Jan. 28, 2013
02.11.13
 
EarthKAM students captured this picture of fragile coral reefs in the Tuamotu Islands in the South Pacific. (NASA) EarthKAM students captured this picture of fragile coral reefs in the Tuamotu Islands in the South Pacific. (NASA)
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Canadian Space Agency astronaut Chris Hadfield installs Ultrasonic Background Noise Tests (UBNT) sensors behind a rack in Destiny, using the space station as Testbed for Analog Research (ISTAR) procedures. These sensors detect high-frequency noise levels generated by station hardware and equipment operating within Destiny. (NASA) Canadian Space Agency astronaut Chris Hadfield installs Ultrasonic Background Noise Tests (UBNT) sensors behind a rack in Destiny, using the space station as Testbed for Analog Research (ISTAR) procedures. These sensors detect high-frequency noise levels generated by station hardware and equipment operating within Destiny. (NASA)
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(Highlights: week of Jan. 28, 2013) -- The International Space Station team spent 71 hours of crew time on research. This is a record for the space station, and is equivalent to two of the three U.S. Operating System (USOS) crew members dedicating all their work time on research alone. For more information about crew duty time, visit here. Since NASA completed space station assembly in the fall of 2011, the crew has been devoting more and more hours to scientific research.

NASA astronaut Kevin Ford, Expedition 34 commander, successfully tested the electronics control unit for the Coarsening in Solid Liquid Mixtures-3 (CSLM-3) investigation in preparation for operations during the SpaceX CRS-2 mission. CSLM-3 is a materials science investigation that studies the growth (coarsening) of metal tree-like (dendritic) structures. During the casting process, the coarsening of dendrites changes their shape and the spacing between branches of the dendrites, which alters the mechanical properties of the solidified metals and alloys. By understanding how temperature and time control the growth of such dendrites, researchers hope to develop more efficient and economical means of producing higher quality products derived from the casting of molten metals. CSLM is operated in the Microgravity Science Glovebox (MSG), and the control unit tested this week is crucial for experiment operations.

Canadian Space Agency astronaut Chris Hadfield set up the Earth Knowledge Acquired by Middle School Students (EarthKAM) hardware in the Harmony module, and activated the camera and software to start a weeklong imaging session. The crew continues to perform daily battery swaps. EarthKAM is a NASA education program that enables thousands of students to photograph and examine the Earth from a space crew's perspective. Using the Internet, the students control a special digital camera mounted onboard the station. This allows 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.

Hadfield installed Ultrasonic Background Noise Test (UBNT) sensors around a LAB Endcone Hatch in the Destiny Laboratory. Ford and Hadfield also rotated the interior racks in Destiny -- LAB102 and LAB105 -- and installed sensors. 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.

NASA astronaut Thomas Marshburn completed the ISS SERVIR Environmental Research and Visualization System (ISERV) payload checkout. All payload components are operating normally. ISERV system characterization operations will be ongoing for several weeks. ISERV is an automated system designed to acquire images of the Earth's surface from the space station. It is primarily a means to gain experience and expertise in automated data acquisition from the station. A secondary objective is to provide useful images for use in disaster monitoring and assessment, and environmental decision-making.

Vic Cooley, Lead Increment Scientist
Expedition 33/34


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