(Highlights: week of Nov. 26, 2012)
Lead Increment Scientist's Highlights for the week of Nov. 26, 2012
-- The International Space Station turned itself to position the European Space Agency's SOLAR
instrument for a better view of the sun. It was the first time the station changed attitude for scientific reasons alone. SOLAR has been monitoring the sun's output since it was installed on the Columbus laboratory in February 2008. SOLAR needs to be in direct view of the sun to take measurements, but the space station's normal orbit obscures the view for two weeks every month. This station turn will increase science by allowing researchers to record a complete rotation of the sun, which takes around 25 days. SOLAR's observations are improving our understanding of the sun and allowing scientists to create accurate computer models to predict its behavior.
Commander Kevin Ford has conducted six of the 36 planned runs for the Investigating the Structure of Paramagnetic Aggregates from Colloidal Emulsions-3 (InSPACE-3
). This investigation, inside the Microgravity Science Glovebox, 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. Future applications for this type of fluid include robotics, clutches and a host of vibration-control systems, such as bridges and building materials, that are better able to withstand earthquake forces.
Ford performed the ninth water quality measurement and periodic water maintenance on the Aquatic Habitat for the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency's Medaka Osteoclast
investigation. Medaka fish are living in these special aquariums in the Kibo module on the station. The fish are being used to study the decrease of bone mineral density during spaceflight. Feeding and monitoring of the fish will continue through December, for 60 days of observation.
Other human research investigations continued for various crew members including, Journals
, Space Headaches
and Reaction Self Test
Vic Cooley, Lead Increment Scientist
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