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Lead Increment Scientist's Highlights for the Third Week of September
(Highlights: Third Week of September 2011) -- Michael Fossum removed the stray optical surface cover for the Capillary Channel Flow investigations, known as CCF, along with realigning the Microgravity Science Glovebox, or MSG, camera. The video and still images from both the CCF and MSG cameras are much improved. The CCF team continued running both subcritical and critical flow test points. The goal of this investigation is to enable design of spacecraft tanks that can supply gas-free propellant to spacecraft thrusters -- directly through capillary vanes -- greatly cutting cost and weight, while improving reliability.

Satoshi Furakawa performed the Commercial Generic Bioprocessing Apparatus Science Insert-05, or CSI-05, installation and the first planting Sept. 20. He planted Brassica rapa seeds in a clear, nutrient-filled gelatin, and all six flasks have germinated. There, the roots are growing in different directions -- many horizontally rather than vertically. The roots on the ground are mostly growing in the downward direction. CSI-05 utilizes the unique microgravity environment of the International Space Station to interest students in science, technology, engineering and math. The International Space Station Agricultural Camera, or ISSAC, successfully started its 24/7 worldwide operations Sept. 20. It captured approximately 70 targets and downlinked all the required frames: 60 percent of North America, 15 percent of South America, seven percent of Africa, five percent of Europe and 13 percent of Asia. ISSAC will temporarily lose light in North America after Sept. 29, and the system will be temporarily shutdown between Sept. 30 and Oct. 9. Normal worldwide observations will resume Oct. 10.

The Simulation of Geophyiscal Fluid Flow Under Microgravity-2, or Geoflow-2, resumed operations on Sept. 22 after issues with the MVIS -- short for Microgravity Vibration Isolation Subsystem -- data acquisition system were resolved with support of the Canadian Space Agency team. The Geoflow-2 investigation studies heat and fluids flows that model the Earth's core.

Satoshi Furukawa completed removal and transfer of the JAXA PCG -- short for Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency Protein Crystal Growth -- investigation to Soyuz 26. Crystals were successfully returned to the ground for analysis. The main objective of this study is to make fine-quality protein crystals in microgravity. The space-grown crystals will be applied to structural biology and pharmaceutical activity.

The week, the Chaos, Turbulence and its Transition Process in Marangoni Convection-Exp, also known as Marangoni-Exp investigation, successfully created a Particle Accumulation Structure -- a sprillary twisted closed loop -- for the first time. The observation was accomplished thanks to the opportunity of having long, high-quality microgravity environment onboard the space station. Marangoni convection is the flow driven by the presence of a surface tension gradient, which can be produced by temperature difference at a liquid/gas interface. The convection in liquid bridge of silicone oil is generated by heating one disc higher than the other. Scientists are observing flow patterns of how fluids move to learn more about how heat is transferred in microgravity.

Jorge Sotomayor, Lead Increment Scientist
Expedition 29/30

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