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Weekly Recap From the Expedition Lead Scientist
May 17, 2013

NASA astronaut Tom Marshburn performs the second of a two-day session of taskboard and teleoperations with Robonaut. (NASA) NASA astronaut Tom Marshburn performs the second of a two-day session of taskboard and teleoperations with Robonaut. (NASA)
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(Highlights: week of May 6, 2013) - The Expedition 35 crew closed out the active and passive detectors for the 3D Silicon Detector Telescope (TriTel) in preparation for returning the passive detectors on the 33 Soyuz (33S). The TriTel investigation characterizes the radiation environment within the Columbus module of the International Space Station with high accuracy. It uses a combination of three different detector types, and measures the radiation amount, direction and history to determine two important values to humans (absorbed dose and dose equivalent) from solar and galactic radiation. Continued characterization and understanding of the space radiation environment allows researchers to better protect humans during spaceflight, and provides data for improving shielding properties of future spacecraft designs. This research could also assist in the planning and development of equipment and systems for future human exploration missions outside of low-Earth orbit. The study can help to better understand Earth's radiation "weather" surrounding our planet and whether this has an impact on climatology, thus helping to improve climate models. It also can feed into applications in high-end technology and health care. The technology could be developed into a robotic measuring device in close vicinity of radiation sources on Earth, to scan the radiation environment in three dimensions, with time resolution.

NASA astronaut Tom Marshburn performed the second session of taskboard and teleoperations with Robonaut. On day one, Robonaut successfully opened and closed quarter-turn fasteners and a softgoods blanket. On day two, it performed vision recognition of upper and lower quarter-turn fasteners. Robonaut serves as a springboard to help evolve new robotic capabilities in space. It demonstrates that a dexterous robot can launch and operate in a space vehicle, manipulate mechanisms in a microgravity environment, operate for an extended duration within the space environment, assist with tasks, and eventually interact with the crew members.

The crew performed two ground-commanded test sessions for the Flame Extinguishment Experiment (FLEX). FLEX will assess the effectiveness of fire suppressants in microgravity and quantify the effect of different possible crew exploration atmospheres on fire suppression. The goal of this research is to provide definition and direction for large-scale fire suppression tests and selection of the fire suppressant for next generation crew exploration vehicles. The investigation will help scientists develop more efficient energy production and propulsion systems on Earth and in space. FLEX will help in the understanding to deal better with combustion-generated pollution, and address fire hazards associated with using liquid combustibles on Earth.

To learn more about FLEX, watch the video below:

Human research investigations continued for various crew members including Journals, Reaction Self Test, Nutrition, Repository, Dietary Intake Can Predict and Protect Against Changes in Bone Metabolism During Spaceflight and Recovery (ProK), and Spinal Ultrasound.

Jorge Sotomayor, Lead Increment Scientist
Expedition 35/36

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Page Last Updated: July 28th, 2013
Page Editor: NASA Administrator