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Weekly Recap From the Expedition Lead Scientist
June 11, 2013
 

Bubble detectors used for the RaDI-N2 Neutron Field Study investigation. (NASA) Bubble detectors used for the RaDI-N2 Neutron Field Study investigation. (NASA)
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External image of the International Space Station showing SCAN Testbed installed on the nadir side. (NASA) External image of the International Space Station showing SCAN Testbed installed on the nadir side. (NASA)
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(Highlights: week of May 27, 2013) - The Expedition 36 crew deployed eight space bubble detectors for the RaDI-N2 Neutron Field Study (RaDI-N2) investigation. The bubbles were to gather data for seven days. This investigation uses newly developed bubble spectrometers to measure neutron radiation levels in different areas of the space station. The spectrometers have been designed to only detect neutrons and ignore all other radiation. The objective of this investigation is to better characterize the station neutron environment and define the risk posed to the crew members' health and provide the data necessary to develop advanced protective measures for future spaceflight.

The crew completed another test session for the Flame Extinguishment Experiment (FLEX). They performed test points using methanol and heptane in a xenon/nitrogen/oxygen atmosphere. FLEX is performed in orbit but controlled from the ground, and will assess the effectiveness of fire suppressants in microgravity and quantify the effect of different possible crew exploration atmospheres on fire suppression. The goal of this research is to provide definition and direction for large-scale fire suppression tests and selection of the fire suppressant for next generation crew exploration vehicles. The investigation will help scientists develop more efficient energy production and propulsion systems on Earth and in space. FLEX will help in the understanding to deal better with combustion-generated pollution, and address fire hazards associated with using liquid combustibles on Earth. quality protein crystals in microgravity that can help in the development of new medicines.

Three successful ground-commanded events were conducted for the Space Communications and Navigation Testbed (SCAN Testbed). This technology demonstration investigation consists of reconfigurable software defined radios with software based communications and navigation functions that provide ground mission planners the capability to change the functionality of the radio once on-orbit. The ability to change the operating characteristics of the radio's software after launch allows missions to change the way a radio communicates with ground controllers, and offers the flexibility to adapt to new science opportunities and increased data return. quality protein crystals in microgravity that can help in the development of new medicines.

The ISS SERVIR Environmental Research and Visualization System (ISERV) acquired images over Argentina, Chile, China and Japan. 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. quality protein crystals in microgravity that can help in the development of new medicines.

Other human research investigations continued for various crew members including Space Headaches, Repository, and Reaction Self Test.

Jorge Sotomayor, Lead Increment Scientist
Expedition 35/36


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