PRISMSpace-1 (PRISMSpace-1) - 01.16.19

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

ISS Science for Everyone

Science Objectives for Everyone
PRISMSpace-1 is an educational mission which includes two experiments. One experiment demonstrates the effectiveness of a low-cost precision clock able to measure the effect of time dilation, a phenomenon of Einstein’s theories of relativity. The second experiment tests the effect of extended exposure to the space environment on isolated plasmid deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA).
Science Results for Everyone
Information Pending

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

OpNom:

Principal Investigator(s)
Adam Kemp, Princeton International School of Mathematics and Science, Princeton, NJ, United States

Co-Investigator(s)/Collaborator(s)
Information Pending

Developer(s)
Space Tango, Inc., Lexington, KY, United States

Sponsoring Space Agency
National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)

Sponsoring Organization
National Laboratory Education (NLE)

Research Benefits
Information Pending

ISS Expedition Duration
February 2018 - March 2019

Expeditions Assigned
55/56,57/58

Previous Missions
Information Pending

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Experiment Description

Research Overview

  • The primary purpose of PRISMSpace-1 is to measure the time dilation effect according to Einstein’s theories. The experiment illustrates the performance of a nanosecond precise clock design.
  • The secondary experiment’s scientific purpose is to determine the mutation rate of isolated plasmid deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) over an extended period of time on the International Space Station (ISS). The DNA samples are sequenced before and after going to space, and the number of mutations is compared to a terrestrial control.

Description

The primary purpose of PRISMSpace-1 is to measure the time dilation effect according to Einstein’s theories. Total time dilation after 90 days due to special relativity is approximately 2.5 ms, while the effect due to general relativity is no more than 1.2 ms. A 20 MHz oscillator with frequency stability of ± 100 ppb and the aging effect of less than 500 ppb per year is capable of detecting 1.3 ms dilation. The experiment illustrates the performance of a nanosecond precise clock design. Upon successful completion of the project, this clock represents an inexpensive substitute to commercial atomic clocks. Data from the environmental sensors is used to analyze the result of the primary experiment and make accuracy adjustments as necessary. For the experiment to be successful, the oscillator is powered at all times. Before the launch, the clocks and the ground clocks are synchronized. After the synchronization, the clocks work in sleeping mode. Once the CubeLab is connected to power, the clocks are fully operational. Data from the clocks is requested regularly to ensure that the clocks are operational. On the last day, the clocks are put back into sleeping mode to conserve energy throughout the descent. Upon the return of the experiment to the Princeton International School of Mathematics and Science (PRISMS), data from the clocks is retrieved.
 
Secondly, PRISMSpace-1 conducts a DNA experiment. The space environment is hostile to life partially because ionizing radiation damages genetic material. In most of the life forms, complicated deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) repairing mechanisms protect their genetic materials from radiation. However, extracted DNA samples may also be mutated during an extended period of space travel, which influences the accuracy of sample analysis. The purpose of this experiment is to determine the mutation rate of isolated plasmid DNA on the International Space Station. The DNA samples are sequenced before and after going to space, and the number of mutations are compared to the same DNA sample on the ground over the same period of time. Plasmid DNA is stable under room temperature, so no power is required for the device.

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Applications

Space Applications
Should it perform as expected, the clock offers an inexpensive, user-friendly substitute for commercial atomic clocks, potentially useful in space-based research that relies on precision timing. Determining the mutation rate of isolated plasmid DNA in space contributes to development of countermeasures to protect crew members from the damaging effects of radiation on future long-term missions.

Earth Applications
An inexpensive, user-friendly substitute for commercial atomic clocks has potential applications in research on Earth that relies on precision timing.

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Operations

Operational Requirements and Protocols
The science is contained inside of a 1U CubeLab in soft stow for ambient ascent. The crew installs the CubeLab to Payload Card-6, and then into the TangoLab, where autonomous operations occur. Once the experiment is complete, the crew removes and stows the hardware for return to Earth. The Payload Card is returned and turned over to the Space Tango/Principal Investigator team during early return.

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Decadal Survey Recommendations

Information Pending

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Results/More Information

Information Pending

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Related Websites
Princeton International School of Mathematics and Science (PRISMS)
Space Tango

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Imagery