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Weekly Recap From the Lead Increment Scientist - Week of March 25, 2013
April 8, 2013
 

NASA astronaut Tom Marshburn services the Combustion Integrated Rack (CIR) in the Destiny laboratory of the International Space Station. (NASA) NASA astronaut Tom Marshburn services the Combustion Integrated Rack (CIR) in the Destiny laboratory of the International Space Station. (NASA)
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Color image of a burning droplet. (NASA) Color image of a burning droplet. (NASA)
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Protein Crystallization Research Facility. (JAXA) Protein Crystallization Research Facility. (JAXA)
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The first run of the Seedling Growth experiment concludes with the removal of the seed cassettes from the European Modular Cultivation System Experiment Containers. The images show a pre-stimulus view, and response to blue light (from the left). The blue light images were captured 12 hours apart, and show clear curvature toward the light. (NASA) The first run of the Seedling Growth experiment concludes with the removal of the seed cassettes from the European Modular Cultivation System Experiment Containers. The images show a pre-stimulus view, and response to blue light (from the left). The blue light images were captured 12 hours apart, and show clear curvature toward the light. (NASA)
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(Highlights: week of March 25, 2013) - Binary Colloidal Alloy Test (BCAT-C1) sample 5 mid-run images were transferred during the intervalometer change activity aboard the International Space Station. A total of 158 images were transferred and Canadian Space Agency astronaut Chris Hadfield, Expedition 35 commander, reported that the images looked great. The BCAT-C1 experiment studies nano-scale particles dispersed in liquid, known as a colloidal suspension, commonly found in such commercial commodities as paint, electronic polishing compounds and food products. These suspensions have a unique property: the particles phase separate (like oil and water) and the particles self-assemble into crystals that interact strongly with light (like opal). Photographing these samples in microgravity allow the measurement of these processes while avoiding the effects of particle sinking caused by gravity. This study allows the development of new insights into this important material process. Improved understanding of these processes may lead to more refined manufacturing processes and commercial products.

Flame Extinguishment Experiment-2 (FLEX-2) Matrix E test points were completed, and the crew replaced two manifold bottles in preparation for the upcoming FLEX runs. FLEX-2 is the second experiment on the space station that uses small droplets of fuel to study the special burning characteristics of fire in space. It studies the rate and manner in which fuel is burned, the conditions that are necessary for soot to form, and the way in which a mixture of fuels evaporate before burning. The results from these experiments will give scientists a better understanding of how fires behave in space and will provide important information that will be useful in increasing the fuel efficiency of engines using liquid fuels. On Earth, FLEX-2 will help in the understanding of combustion-generated pollution, and address fire hazards associated with liquid combustibles.

The Expedition 35 crew installed canisters into the Protein Crystallization Research Facility in the Ryutai Rack for the Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) Protein Crystal Growth (PCG) investigation. JAXA PCG is aimed at the growth of crystals of biological macromolecules by the counter-diffusion technique. The main scientific objective of the JAXA PCG experiment is to make fine quality protein crystals in microgravity environment. The space-grown crystals will be applied to structural biology and pharmaceutical activity.

Run 1 of 4 of the Seedling Growth investigation was completed. The seedlings were hydrated and entered the growth period with white light and the centrifuge rotor spinning at 1.0 g (Earth's gravity) for four days to allow them to germinate and grow. The principal investigator reported that the overall rate of germination was 91.2 percent. The in orbit germination rate was not significantly different from that seen in the ground controls. The European Modular Cultivation System (ECMS) rotor was then stopped, exposing the seedlings to microgravity and photostimulation (red or blue light from the side). The run was then completed and the seed cassettes were removed from the EMCS and placed in the Minus Eighty-Degree Laboratory Freezer for ISS (MELFI).

Human research investigations continued for various crew members including Space Headaches, Reaction Self Test and Energy.

Jorge Sotomayor, Lead Increment Scientist
Expedition 35/36


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