(Highlights: week of Nov. 19, 2012)
Lead Increment Scientist's Highlights for the week of Nov. 19, 2012
-- The third of 36 runs of the Investigating the Structure of Paramagnetic Aggregates from Colloidal Emulsions-3 (InSPACE-3
) was conducted in the Microgravity Science Glovebox. This investigation obtains data on fluids containing ellipsoid particles that change the physical properties of the fluids in response to magnetic fields. InSPACE-3 test samples include six vials containing paramagnetic materials suspended in magnetorheological fluid. This fluid is classified as a smart material, which transitions to a solid-like state by the formation and cross-linking of microstructures in the presence of a magnetic field, and becomes a liquid again when the field is removed. While InSPACE-2 looked at magnetorheological fluids composed of spherical particles, InSPACE-3 is focused on ellipsoid-shaped particles. Current commercial magnetorheological fluid products include tunable dampers and brakes, while future applications in robotics, clutches and a host of vibration-control systems are envisioned, such as bridges and building materials that are better able to withstand earthquake forces.
Commander Kevin Ford performed periodic water maintenance on the Aquatic Habitat for the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency's Medaka Osteoclast
investigation. This studies Medaka fish in special aquariums in the Kibo module on the station. Living organisms, including astronauts, lose bone mineral density during long duration spaceflight. Increased activity of osteoclasts, a bone cell that is responsible for resorption or breakdown of bone, is hypothesized to cause the decrease of bone mineral density during spaceflight. The Medaka fish is an animal model to study the effects of microgravity on osteoclast activity and the gravity sensing system of the fish using histological analysis and gene expression analysis by RNA in-situ hybridization. Feeding and monitoring of the fish will continue through December, for 60 days of observation.
Ford also completed his second session with the Nutritional Status Assessment (Nutrition
). This comprehensive in-flight study is designed to understand changes in human physiology during long-duration spaceflight. This study includes measurements of bone metabolism, oxidative damage, and chemical and hormonal changes; as well as assessments of the nutritional status of the crew members participating in the study. The results have an impact on the definition of nutritional requirements and development of food systems for future space exploration missions.
Other human research investigations continued for various crew members including ALTEA-Shield
, Space Headaches
and Reaction Self Test
Vic Cooley, Lead Increment Scientist
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