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Science Experiments and Maintenance for Station Crew
iss034e010603 -- Flight Engineers Chris Hadfield and Tom Marshburn

Flight Engineer Chris Hadfield poses with a Materials Science Laboratory Furnace Launch Support Structure in the Destiny laboratory of the International Space Station. Flight Engineer Tom Marshburn uses a computer in the background. Credit: NASA

After enjoying some time-off for the Russian Christmas Holiday, the Expedition 34 crew members living and working aboard the International Space Station were busy with a variety of science and maintenance activities Tuesday as they get back to their normal work schedule.

Commander Kevin Ford and Flight Engineers Tom Marshburn and Chris Hadfield participated in a variety of biomedical experiments and periodic fitness evaluations, collecting blood and urine samples where needed for storage in the Minus Eighty Degree Laboratory Freezer for ISS. The biological samples from the many life science experiments are stored at ultra-cold temperatures to preserve them for later analysis on Earth.

Ford also made a call down to Orbit 1 Payload Operations Director John Bartlett at the Payload Operations Center in Huntsville, Ala. to congratulate the Alabama Crimson Tide on winning college football’s national championship on Monday. Ford, a graduate of Notre Dame, said there was no question who the better team was, and said both teams should be proud of the seasons they had.

› Listen to an audio clip of the conversation (3.4 Mb mp3)

Hadfield worked with the InSpace-3 experiment, which studies the physical property changes in fluids containing ellipsoid-shaped particles when a magnetic field is applied. These colloidal fluids are classified as smart materials, transitioning to a solid-like state in the presence of a magnetic field, and this technology may lead to the design of bridges and buildings that can better withstand earthquakes.

› Read more about InSPACE-3

Marshburn removed and replaced an Internal Thermal Control System Maintenance Canister in the Destiny laboratory and took some sound measurements using an acoustic dosimeter, which helps to determine whether sound levels aboard the orbiting laboratory stay within acceptable levels for crew members.

Flight Engineers Oleg Novitskiy, Evgeny Tarelkin and Roman Romanenko routed new cables in the Zvezda service module to prepare for the upcoming launch of the “Nauka” multipurpose laboratory module. The trio also worked with a Russian experiment studying plasma crystal formation in microgravity.

› Learn more about Plasma Crystal

Novitskiy and Romanenko rounded out their day with the Vzaimodeystviye (Interactions) experiment, which monitors the crew’s adaptation to long-duration spaceflight.

› Read more about Vzaimodeystviye