ISS Science Highlights
Week of Nov. 25, 2013
John Love, Lead Increment Scientist
Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency astronaut Koichi Wakata performed his first Body Measures session aboard the International Space Station. It is anticipated that body measurements will change due to microgravity and fluid shifts. The goal of this study is to gather preliminary data to better understand the magnitude and variability of these changes. This data is important to be able to determine the changes that may occur during long-duration spaceflight and to be able to apply the changes to suit fit, suit sizing and workstation design for future missions to maximize performance, prevent injury, and reduce crew time for altering or adjusting their suits, workstation, etc., to accommodate their anthropometrics. This investigation will benefit people on Earth by providing information for the design of medical devices and provide a better understanding of how bed rest, similar to spaceflight, can affect body changes. This investigation also will potentially update the Neutral Body Posture that is widely used for design standards for Earth applications.
Biological Experiment Laboratory (BioLab) commissioning operations are progressing well. Crew operations are complete but more ground operations are planned. BioLab is a multiuser research facility located in the European Columbus laboratory. It is used to perform space biology experiments on microorganisms, cells, tissue cultures, small plants and small invertebrates. BioLab will allow scientists to gain a better understanding of the effects of microgravity and space radiation on biological organisms.
Successful imagery of the Comet ISON and other celestial events were taken from the station’s Cupola windows with a 4K resolution high-definition camera. According to JAXA, this is the first time a moving image was captured with the 4K camera. Comet ISON went around the sun Nov. 28. Several solar observatories watched the comet throughout this closest approach to the sun, known as perihelion. This movie shows Comet ISON orbiting around the sun – represented by the white circle. ISON looks smaller as it streams away, but scientists believe its nucleus may still be intact. Throughout the year that researchers have watched Comet ISON, the comet brightened and dimmed in unexpected ways. Such brightness changes usually occur in response to material boiling off the comet, and different material will do so at different temperatures thus providing clues as to what the comet is made of. Analyzing this pattern will help scientists understand the composition of ISON, which contains material assembled during the very formation of the solar system some 4.5 billion years ago.
The Selectable Optics Diagnostic Instrument (SODI) cell array two was successfully installed in the Microgravity Science Glovebox for the Selectable Optics Diagnostic Instrument-Diffusion Coefficient in Mixtures 2 (SODI-DCMIX 2) experiment. Cell array two was launched on Progress 53P. SODI-DCMIX 2 is supporting research to determine diffusion coefficients in different petroleum field samples and refine petroleum reservoir models to help lead to more efficient extraction of oil resources.