NanoRacks-Valley Christian High School-ISS Background Radiation Experiment (NanoRacks-VCHS-ISS Background Radiation) - 11.22.16
Crew members living on the International Space Station (ISS) are exposed to constant background radiation from the sun and other cosmic sources, which can be a health hazard. NanoRacks-Valley Christian High School-ISS Background Radiation Experiment (NanoRacks-VCHS-ISS Background Radiation) uses a Geiger counter to study this background radiation at different points along the ISS’ orbit. Measuring the radiation environment on the ISS for one month helps determine whether future crews need additional radiation shielding to protect their health. Science Results for Everyone
Information Pending Experiment Details
OpNom: NanoRacks Module-16 S/N 1002
Valley Christian High School , San Jose, CA, United States
Howell Ivy, Valley Christian High School, San Jose, CA, United States
Valley Christian High School , San Jose , CA, United States
NanoRacks LLC, Webster, TX, United States
Sponsoring Space Agency
National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)
National Laboratory Education (NLE)
ISS Expedition Duration
March 2014 - September 2014; September 2015 - March 2016
NanoRacks-Valley Christian High School-ISS Background Radiation Experiment (NanoRacks-VCHS-ISS Background Radiation) measures International Space Station (ISS) background radiation at different points along the ISS orbit around the earth with the use of a Geiger counter.
NanoRacks-VCHS-ISS Background Radiation measures the ISS internal radiation over the entire orbit for a period of a least a month to help determine if astronauts need additional radiation shielding to protect them against space radiation, especially solar flares.
NanoRacks-Valley Christian High School-ISS Background Radiation Experiment (NanoRacks-VCHS-ISS Background Radiation) uses a Geiger counter to measure the radiation levels within the International Space Station (ISS). The Geiger counter contains a Geiger-Müller tube, which is a sealed metallic cylindrical tube filled with low-pressure argon gas. A thin metal wire runs through the center of the tube. An electric potential is maintained between the metal wire (the anode) and the cylinder (the cathode). In the absence of any radiation no current flows between the wire and the cylinder. When a radioactive particle enters the tube, it ionizes an argon atom, resulting in an electric pulse emitted from the counter. These particles are seen as particles that can be counted. A simple software program in the MicroLab makes use of a 32-bit counter to count these pulses and provide a representation of the pulses on an LED rack. Photos of this LED representation are taken and compiled with the data about the pulses that have been received from the counter. This provides the capability to accurately measure and profile the internal ISS background radiation levels for the entire ISS orbit.
Solar flares can emit dangerous levels of radiation, on top of the constant radiation that streams from the sun. This radiation can harm sensitive equipment and be hazardous to crew health. This investigation measures the radiation environment throughout entire orbits of the ISS for at least one month, which helps characterize the need for additional radiation shielding in the future.
Two freshmen, two sophomores, one junior and two seniors designed the experiment, built the circuit board payload, and programmed the computer. The team analyzes data while the investigation is in orbit, and studies the payload after it returns to Earth to determine how well it survives the stress of landing. The investigation provides a unique opportunity to connect students to the space program, providing training and real-world experience in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.
Operational Requirements and Protocols
Crew interaction with NanoRacks Module-16 is limited to transferring the NanoRacks locker insert from the launch vehicle to the ISS, installation and activation of the NanoRacks Frames into the EXPRESS Rack Locker, cleaning of the air inlet filter (as necessary) and data retrieval (as needed) during the mission.
Decadal Survey Recommendations
Information Pending^ back to top
Information Pending^ back to top
The NanoRacks-Valley Christian High School-ISS Background Radiation Experiment (NanoRacks-VCHS-ISS Background Radiation) investigation team. Image courtesy of Valley Christian High School.
+ View Larger Image