Materials International Space Station Experiment-X (MISSE-X)
"The universe is a wonderful and immense engine." -- George Santayana, 20th century American philosopher
Since 2001, NASA's Materials International Space Station Experiment-X (MISSE-X) series has tested some 4,000 material samples and specimens -- from lubricants and paints to fabrics, container seals and solar cell technologies -- to demonstrate their durability in the punishing space environment. Flown 220 miles above the Earth, fixed to the exterior of the International Space Station for periods of up to four years, these innovative experiments endure extreme levels of solar and charged-particle radiation, atomic oxygen, hard vacuum, temperature extremes and contamination, giving researchers unprecedented insight into developing durable materials for spacecraft, flight hardware and even astronaut clothing.
It's research that is difficult to simulate effectively in Earth-based laboratories, and provides NASA and its partners with endless insight into the challenges of protecting astronaut health and establishing a permanent human presence in space.
Managed by NASA's Langley Research Center in Hampton, Va., the Materials International Space Station Experiment-X (MISSE-X) Technology Demonstration Mission is a collaborative effort among NASA centers, the U.S. Department of Defense, academia and private industry. By pooling resources, these groups will reap the rewards of collaborating on advanced materials-science research, while minimizing individual investment costs.