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Weekly Recap From the Expedition Lead Scientist
June 21, 2013
 

NASA astronaut Tom Marshburn with the Light Microscopy Module aboard the International Space Station. (NASA) NASA astronaut Tom Marshburn with the Light Microscopy Module aboard the International Space Station. (NASA)
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This ISERV image shows the towering, snow-topped mountains and deeply carved valleys of the Chilean Andes. (SERVIR/ISERV) This ISERV image shows the towering, snow-topped mountains and deeply carved valleys of the Chilean Andes. (SERVIR/ISERV)
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(Highlights: week of June 10, 2013) - European Space Agency astronaut Luca Parmitano and NASA astronaut Karen Nyberg completed a session collecting final saliva samples for the Microbiome investigation. Microbiome investigates the impact of space travel on the human immune system and on an individual's microbiome (the collection of microbes that live in and on the human body) to help predict how long-term space travel may impact human health. It is known that factors such as stress, diet and an impaired immune system can trigger changes in the human microbiota, increasing the risk of contracting a disease. The product of this study will be an assessment of the likelihood and consequences of alterations in the microbiome due to extreme environments, and the related human health risk. Findings could be used to benefit people on Earth that live and work in extreme environments. Other potential applications of this study could be to further research in preliminary detection of diseases, alterations in metabolic function and immune system deficiency.

The Expedition 36 crew mixed a well of colloidal particles and dispensed oil to the sample for the Advanced Colloids Experiment-1 (ACE-1) study. ACE-1 is the first in a series of microscopic imaging investigations that uses the space environment to examine flow characteristics and the evolution and ordering effects within a group of colloidal materials. The experiment requires the crew to use the Light Microscopy Module (LMM) facility. The samples in each sample disk are mixed and then observed, one disk at a time. The microscope is controlled from the ground and the pictures are downlinked to investigators for analysis and planning. ACE-1 samples provide important data that is not available on Earth - data which can guide our understanding of crystallization, production quality control and phase separation (e.g. product shelf life). It could have a big commercial impact in terms of quality, production and longevity.

Ground teams commanded the start of the first Alloy Semiconductor sample experiment run. The sample will be processed for nine days. This investigation aims to develop a clear understanding of how semiconductor materials grow and crystallize in microgravity. The materials studied also are known to be useful as devices that convert heat into electricity (thermoelectrics). These studies may shed light on how higher quality crystals may be derived from other materials or incorporated into other devices such as solar cells.

With the space station precessing back into sunlit overpasses for the central United States, the Earth-observing camera called ISERV will be acquiring data over areas hit by recent tornadoes, as well as images over flooded portions of Germany, Austria and Poland. ISERV stands for the International Space Station SERVIR Environmental Research and Visualization System. The station provides researchers a unique perspective through global observations from space. SERVIR is a Spanish acronym meaning "to serve." Also known as the Regional Visualization and Monitoring System, the program provides satellite data and tools to environmental decision makers in developing countries.

Other human research investigations continued for various crew members including Space Headaches, Reaction Self Test, Biological Rhythms 48 hours, 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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Page Last Updated: July 28th, 2013
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