NanoRacks-Valley Christian High School-Observing Background Radiation and Magnetic Fields in Microgravity (NanoRacks-VCHS-Observing Background Radiation and Magnetic Fields in Microgravity) - 11.22.16

Overview | Description | Applications | Operations | Results | Publications | Imagery

ISS Science for Everyone

Science Objectives for Everyone
The sun constantly blasts Earth and the rest of the solar system with radiation, which can peak to dangerous levels in solar flares. This radiation can harm sensitive equipment in space and on the ground and is hazardous to orbiting crew members’ health. NanoRacks-Valley Christian High School-Observing Background Radiation and Magnetic Fields in Microgravity (NanoRacks-VCHS-Observing Background Radiation and Magnetic Fields in Microgravity) monitors the radiation environment throughout the orbit of the International Space Station for one month, which helps determine the need for radiation shielding on future space missions.
Science Results for Everyone
Information Pending

The following content was provided by Steve Borgens, and is maintained in a database by the ISS Program Science Office.
Experiment Details

OpNom: NanoRacks Module-18 S/N 1003

Principal Investigator(s)
Valley Christian High School , San Jose, CA, United States

Co-Investigator(s)/Collaborator(s)
Steve Borgens, Valley Christian High School, San Jose, CA, United States

Developer(s)
Valley Christian High School , San Jose , CA, United States
NanoRacks LLC, Webster, TX, United States

Sponsoring Space Agency
National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)

Sponsoring Organization
National Laboratory Education (NLE)

Research Benefits
Space Exploration

ISS Expedition Duration
March 2015 - March 2016

Expeditions Assigned
43/44,45/46

Previous Missions
NanoRacks-VCHS-ISS Background Radiation flown in NanoRacks Module-16 S/N 1002 on SpX-4.

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Experiment Description

Research Overview

  • NanoRacks-Valley Christian High School-Observing Background Radiation and Magnetic Fields in Microgravity (NanoRacks-VCHS-Observing Background Radiation and Magnetic Fields in Microgravity) uses a Geiger counter to detect radiation in the form of the radioactive alpha and beta particles in space.
  • By using a magnetometer, the strength of the earth's magnetic field at various points of orbit are obtained.
  • By combining these two aspects, the data is correlated to discover any unusual occurrences or patterns between radioactivity and strength of magnetic fields in the orbit of the International Space Station (ISS).

Description
NanoRacks-Valley Christian High School-Observing Background Radiation and Magnetic Fields in Microgravity (NanoRacks-VCHS-Observing Background Radiation and Magnetic Fields in Microgravity) involves a Geiger counter used to detect radiation in the form of the radioactive alpha and beta particles in space. The Geiger counter consists of a tube filled with the inert gases of argon and neon. When the Geiger counter is exposed to radioactive particles, the radioactive particles react with the inert gases, releasing electrons, which eventually build up to an electrical current. This current temporarily turns off a switch and creates pulses, measured by a meter. By using a magnetometer, the strength of the earth's magnetic field at various points of orbit are obtained. By combining these two aspects, data is correlated to discover any unusual occurrences or patterns between radioactivity and strength of magnetic fields in the orbit of the ISS.

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Applications

Space Applications
Radiation from the sun can harm human health, but the Earth’s magnetic field largely protects the planet, as well as spacecraft in low-Earth orbit. This investigation uses a Geiger counter to monitor radioactive alpha and beta particles from the sun, and uses a magnetometer to measure the strength of Earth’s magnetic field. Combining measurements throughout the International Space Station’s orbital path can unveil any unusual patterns or correlations between radioactivity and the strength of magnetic fields.

Earth Applications
Earth’s magnetic field deflects charged particles from the sun, but occasionally, radiation from powerful solar flares can interact with the magnetic fields and upper atmosphere and cause geomagnetic storms. These storms are visible in the form of the northern and southern aurorae, but can also interfere with power grids and telecommunications networks. Understanding how Earth’s magnetic fields affect radiation at various points around the globe can help cities and countries plan for hazardous solar storms. In addition, the investigation contributes to student education in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields and connects students to the space program.

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Operations

Operational Requirements and Protocols

Data collection within the experiment is automated; downlink is done via scheduled STELLA/NanoRacks command window intervals for the NanoRacks Platform. Payload is ambient and soft-stowed, but late loaded (approximately L-72 hr) and an early return.

Crew interaction is limited to transferring the NanoRacks Module from the launch vehicle to the ISS, installing the Module into a NanoRacks Platform, activating the NanoRacks Platform, data retrieval (as needed) during the mission, and destowing and returning the Module.

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Decadal Survey Recommendations

Information Pending

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Results/More Information

Information Pending

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Related Websites
NanoRacks

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Imagery

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The NanoRacks-Valley Christian High School-Observing Background Radiation and Magnetic Fields in Microgravity (NanoRacks-VCHS-Observing Background Radiation and Magnetic Fields in Microgravity) investigation team from San Jose, CA.  Image courtesy Valley Christian High School.

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The NanoRacks-Valley Christian High School-Observing Background Radiation and Magnetic Fields in Microgravity (NanoRacks-VCHS-Observing Background Radiation and Magnetic Fields in Microgravity) in final ambient systems test.  Image courtesy Valley Christian High School.

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NanoRacks-Valley Christian High School-Observing Background Radiation and Magnetic Fields in Microgravity (NanoRacks-VCHS-Observing Background Radiation and Magnetic Fields in Microgravity) test printed circuit board.  Image courtesy Valley Christian High School.

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NanoRacks-Valley Christian High School-Observing Background Radiation and Magnetic Fields in Microgravity (NanoRacks-VCHS-Observing Background Radiation and Magnetic Fields in Microgravity) experiment under final software validation.  Image courtesy Valley Christian High School.

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