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Lead Increment Scientist's Highlights for the Week of March 11, 2013
03.25.13
 
Dr. Howard Levine, chief scientist in NASA's International Space Station Ground Processing and Research Directorate, watches as Michele Koralewicz of QinetiQ North America assembles a Biological Research in Canisters (BRIC) experiment package. (NASA) Dr. Howard Levine, chief scientist in NASA's International Space Station Ground Processing and Research Directorate, watches as Michele Koralewicz of QinetiQ North America assembles a Biological Research in Canisters (BRIC) experiment package. (NASA)
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(Highlights: week of March 11, 2013) -- NASA astronaut Thomas Marshburn activated BRIC-17 A, B, C and D canisters aboard the International Space Station. BRIC-17 is short for Biological Research In Canisters-17. He inserted the canisters into the Minus Eighty-Degree Laboratory Freezer for ISS (MELFI). BRIC hardware supports a variety of plant growth investigations. The investigations will contribute to an understanding of how environmental stimuli interact to affect plant development in a weightless environment. Investigators will analyze the plants to determine the potential for using defined mutations to tailor plants to thrive in space. These experiments will help provide a source of food during long-term spaceflight to destinations such as asteroids or Mars. For more information about this investigation, visit here.

Marshburn performed the second and third Capillary Flow Experiment-2 (CFE-2) Interior Corner Flow 9 test vessel runs. 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. The team reported "exciting footage of the circulating bubble flow in the fluid reservoir."

Canadian Space Agency astronaut Chris Hadfield performed Coarsening in Solid Liquid Mixtures-3 (CSLM-3) operations to support Sample Processing Unit (SPU) 12, and inserted SPU 10 for processing preparation. The CSLM-3 investigation will process six SPUs in the Microgravity Science Glovebox (MSG). Three of six are complete. 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-3 Principal Investigator Peter Voorhees talks about the CSLM-3 experiment below:



Marshburn reconfigured the Microgravity Measurement Apparatus from the Kobairo Rack to the Ryutai Rack to support the next Marangoni experiment planned in Increment 35/36. Ryutai -- which means fluid -- Experiment Rack is a multipurpose payload rack system that includes a Fluid Physics Experiment Facility, Solution Crystallization Observation Facility, Protein Crystallization Research Facility, and image processing. Marangoni convection is the flow driven by the presence of a surface tension gradient, which can be produced by temperature difference at a liquid/gas interface. The convection in liquid bridge of silicone oil is generated by heating the one disc higher than the other. Scientists are observing flow patterns of how fluids move to learn more about how heat is transferred in microgravity.

Other human research investigations continued for various crew members including Spinal Ultrasound, Nutrition, Repository, and the Space Linear Acceleration Mass Measurement Device (SLAMMD).

Vic Cooley, Lead Increment Scientist
Expedition 33/34


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