ISS Science Highlights for Week of Jan. 27

Aboard the International Space Station, astronaut Mike Hopkins works with a cell array for the Selectable Optics Diagnostic Instrument-Diffusion Coefficient in Mixtures 2 (SODI-DCMIX 2) investigation. Findings may help refine petroleum reservoir models for more efficient extraction of oil resources. (Credit: NASA)
Aboard the International Space Station, astronaut Mike Hopkins works with a cell array for the Selectable Optics Diagnostic Instrument-Diffusion Coefficient in Mixtures 2 (SODI-DCMIX 2) investigation. Findings may help refine petroleum reservoir models for more efficient extraction of oil resources. (Credit: NASA)

ISS Science Highlights
Week of Jan. 27, 2013

by John Love
Lead Increment Scientist

Expedition 37/38

Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency astronaut Koichi Wakata and NASA astronaut Michael Hopkins read the first children’s books for the Story Time from Space activity. They read “Max Goes to the Space Station,” “The Wizard Who Saved the World” and “Max Goes to the Moon.” Crew members on the space station host Story Time from Space by videotaping themselves reading children’s books.

They also complete simple demonstrations that accompany the science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) concepts in the books. The videos are edited and posted to an online library with related educational materials for educators and parents to use. The project aims to bring space station science to communities that have had no other involvement with the space program through the simple beauty of reading a book to the children of Earth from orbit. The books are delivered to the space station and returned after the videos are completed. The program will increase awareness of the station, and connects STEM concepts with literacy, providing teachers a unique and engaging way to teach.

Hopkins and Wakata repaired the ISERV pointing mount, and Wakata completed the payload checkout. ISERV stands for the International Space Station SERVIR Environmental Research and Visualization System. Last year, Canadian Space Agency astronaut Chris Hadfield helped install ISERV in the Earth-facing window of the space station’s Destiny module. From the station’s vantage point, nearly 95 percent of the planet’s populated area is visible during the station’s orbit, so the window provides the perfect perch for taking photos of Earth from space. Researchers on the ground use the high-resolution camera to acquire image data of specific areas of the globe. These images help decision-makers address environmental issues, humanitarian crises and disasters. The ISERV system, based on a modified commercial telescope and driven by custom software, obtains near real-time images and transmits the data within hours to scientists and decision-makers on Earth.

The Gradient Heating Furnace (GHF) vacuum process on the Kobairo Rack and the heating process began for the Hicari study. The GHF will be heated until the temperature reaches approximately 1,250 degrees C, and then the sample will be crystallized. Hicari is a material science investigation that studies the crystal growth of Silicon-Germanium (SiGe) in the GHF. Results will be used in developing more efficient solar cells and semiconductor-based electronics.

The last bonus science run was completed for the Selectable Optical Diagnostic Instrument-Diffusion Coefficient in Mixtures 2 (SODI-DCMIX 2) investigation. NASA astronaut Richard Mastracchio successfully completed the external hard drive maintenance activity. Findings in the SODI-DCMIX 2 study may help refine petroleum reservoir models for more efficient extraction of oil resources.

Other human research investigations continued for various crew members including Energy, Journals, Reaction Self Test, Space Linear Acceleration Mass Measurement Device (SLAMMD),  Body Mass Measurement (BMM), and Space Headaches.