NanoRacks-Valley Christian High School-Memory Loss Experiment (NanoRacks-VCHS-Memory Loss) - 09.27.17

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

ISS Science for Everyone

Science Objectives for Everyone
Cosmic rays from distant exploding stars constantly make their way through the cosmos, and occasionally these high-energy particles collide with computer chips, harming data and electronics. The NanoRacks-Valley Christian High School-Memory Loss Experiment (NanoRacks-VCHS-Memory Loss) investigation determines whether cosmic rays affect information in computer memory chips when the chips are not shielded. Results provide further information on the threat cosmic radiation poses to sensitive computers operating in space.
Science Results for Everyone
Information Pending

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

OpNom: NanoRacks Module-21 S/N 1003

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

Co-Investigator(s)/Collaborator(s)
George Sousa, 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
Information Pending

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Experiment Description

Research Overview

  • The purpose of NanoRacks-Valley Christian High School-Memory Loss Experiment (NanoRacks-VCHS-Memory Loss) is to determine if cosmic particles in space affect information in memory chips when the chips are not shielded.   
  • NanoRacks-VCHS-Memory Loss uses 16 Electrically Erasable Programmable Read-Only Memory chips, or EEPROMs, which are a type of non-volatile memory used in computers and other electronic devices to store small amounts of data.
  • The EEPROMs have various shielding configurations: 4 with tungsten, 4 with copper, and 8 are not shielded.

Description

NanoRacks-Valley Christian High School-Memory Loss Experiment (NanoRacks-VCHS-Memory Loss) contains 16 Electrically Erasable Programmable Read-Only Memory chips, or EEPROMs, which are a type of non-volatile memory used in computers and other electronic devices to store small amounts of data. Four EEPROMs are shielded with tungsten, 4 EEPROMs are shielded with copper, and 8EEPROMs are not shielded. The control board is programmed to write binary values in the form of hex to each of the EEPROMs, arranged in 4 banks of 4 each.  After approximately 5 days, each of the values is read back from the EEPROMs.  The read values are compared to the written values and those that are incorrect are logged for further analysis.  After reading each of the values from all of the EEPROMs, the values written to each bank are rotated through the EEPROMs. This cycle continues for the entirety of the mission.

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Applications

Space Applications
In 2013 and 2014, the Curiosity Mars rover experienced computer glitches and image-processing challenges because of cosmic rays, which stream from exploding stars and travel throughout the universe. Future robotic and manned missions will be exposed to the same hazards, potentially threatening communications and scientific investigation. This investigation uses 16 Electrically Erasable Programmable Read-Only Memory chips, or EEPROMs, a type of computer memory used to store small amounts of data. The EEPROMs have varying amounts of shielding to explore how well it protects data on the chips. Results improve efforts to protect sensitive electronics from damaging cosmic radiation.

Earth Applications
Students from Valley Christian High School in San Jose, CA, designed the investigation, gaining real exposure to the problems and challenges of spaceflight. Students gain valuable experience in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM), preparing them for future careers and connecting them 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-72hr) 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 of 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
ASGSR

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Imagery

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The NanoRacks-Valley Christian High School-Memory Loss Experiment (NanoRacks-VCHS-Memory Loss) team from San Jose, CA.  Image courtesy of Valley Christian High School.

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Designing the NanoRacks-Valley Christian High School-Memory Loss Experiment (NanoRacks-VCHS-Memory Loss) microprocessor.  Image courtesy of Valley Christian High School.

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Programming the NanoRacks-Valley Christian High School-Memory Loss Experiment (NanoRacks-VCHS-Memory Loss) microprocessor.  Image courtesy of Valley Christian High School.

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