Home Science Cutting-edge experiments ride SpaceX’s 26th CRS mission to space station

Cutting-edge experiments ride SpaceX’s 26th CRS mission to space station

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This pre-flight image shows the Red Robin dwarf tomatoes used for Veg-05 growing on Veggie Hardware at Kennedy Space Center. Credit: NASA

SpaceX’s 26th Commercial Resupply Mission (CRS) is scheduled to launch to the International Space Station in late November from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The Dragon spacecraft will carry science experiments and technology demonstrations investigating growing plants in space, creating nutrients on demand, building in space, and more.

Below is space station:

Big expectations for small tomatoes

A continuous source of nutritious food is essential for long-term exploration missions, and the typical prepackaged astronaut diet may need to be supplemented with fresh produce produced in Europe. not. spaceResearchers are testing plant growth units at stations known as . vegetable We have successfully grown a variety of leafy vegetables. Vege-05The next step in that work is focused on growing dwarf tomatoes.

Gioia Massa, NASA Life Science Project Scientist and VEG, said: -05 Chief Investigator. “We are also looking at the overall impact of growing, tending, and eating crops on the behavioral health of the crew, all of which will provide valuable data for future space exploration.”

Massa adds that tomatoes can be eaten raw, are highly nutritious and widely consumed. The dwarf cherry tomato variety used in the study, Red Robin, grew well during ground trials and produced large quantities of nutritious and palatable fruit.

SpaceX's 26th CRS mission to the space station will carry cutting-edge experiments

Staining reagents and syringe storage box (upper left), staining device (lower left), small microscope (right) for moon microscope investigation.Credit: NASA JSC Institute of Immunology/Virology

diagnosis on the spot

moon microscope Test an on-board medical diagnostic kit that includes a portable handheld microscope and a small, self-contained blood sample stainer. Astronauts will take a blood sample, stain it, acquire an image with a microscope, and transmit the image to the ground. On the ground, aviation surgeons use them to diagnose diseases and prescribe treatments.

NASA Immunologist and Principal Investigator Brian Crucian said: “During a deep space mission, all stressors are increased and the ability to care for the crew is reduced. It’s designed to create diagnostic lab capabilities that fit into microgravity and operational constraints, allowing sick crew members to perform blood smears, imaging, and image transmission in minutes.”

The kit will not only provide diagnostic capabilities for crews in space or on the surface of the Moon or Mars, but also the ability to test water, food, and surface contamination. This hardware could also enable improved medical monitoring on future Artemis and Gateway missions.

SpaceX's 26th CRS mission to the space station will carry cutting-edge experiments

The MIT Space Exploration Initiative team is conducting a parabolic flight test of an early version of the extrusion hardware. It demonstrates the use of liquid resins to create shapes and forms to support the construction of future large structures in space. Credit: Steve Boxall, MIT

Building larger structures

On Earth, gravity deforms large objects such as beams used in large-scale construction. Microgravity allows the fabrication of longer and thinner structures without this deformation. push out It demonstrates the technique of using liquid resin to create shapes and forms that cannot be created on Earth. A light-curing resin is injected into a pre-made flexible foam and a camera captures footage of the process. The ability to use these forms enables the in-space construction of structures such as space stations. solar arrayand equipment.

“In this experiment, we will use the microgravity environment to extrude both general and complex branching geometries,” said principal investigator Ariel Ekbrough, director of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Media Lab Space Exploration Initiative. I’m here. “Our method reduces the time to manufacture key components required for daily mission use and may support future space construction of large structures such as trusses and antennas. based on additive manufacturing and self-assembly workstreams in space.”

of space exploration initiative It supports a wide range of microgravity and lunar research across science, engineering, art and design. This experiment is packed inside the Nanoracks Black Box along with several other experiments from the MIT Media Lab. ISS National Lab.

SpaceX's 26th CRS mission to the space station will carry cutting-edge experiments

A preflight image of a BioNutrients-2 yogurt bag. The blue color of the contents is due to the pH indicator and the SABL interface board at the back of the bag provides a starting and ending color reference. BioNutrients-2 will test systems that produce nutrients in space from yogurt, kefir and yeast-based beverages.Credit: NASA Ames Research Center

nutrients on demand

Providing adequate nutrition is a major challenge for maintaining crew health on future long-term space missions. Many vitamins, nutrients, and pharmaceuticals have expiration dates, and the ability to manufacture such compounds on demand could help maintain the health and well-being of the crew. Bionutrient-2 We test a system that produces key nutrients from yogurt, a fermented milk product known as kefir, and yeast-based beverages.

The study begins a five-year Phase 2 Bionutrition The program is led by NASA’s Ames Research Center and managed by Game Changing Development, NASA’s Space Technology and Mission Directorate.The program began with the launch of Bionutrition-1 BioNutrients-2 employs a small system with a heated incubator that promotes the growth of beneficial organisms.

“This experiment added follistatin, a protein therapeutic used to maintain muscle mass, and the fermented dairy products yogurt and kefir,” said NASA Ames principal investigator John Hogan. “We are also testing new lightweight bag systems for effective microbial storage and growth in microgravity, and evaluating food safety technology.” We plan to engineer the yeast strain to make up to four nutritional products.

Researchers are also working to find efficient ways to use local resources to manufacture bulk products such as plastics, construction binders and raw materials chemicals. Designed to reduce, increase self-sufficiency and extend the reach of human exploration.

SpaceX's 26th CRS mission to the space station will carry cutting-edge experiments

ROSA solar panels on the space station during initial deployment and retraction testing in 2017. His second set of iROSA panels to be launched in the trunk of SpaceX-26 could provide a 20-30% power increase for space station research and operations. Credit: NASA

Adding solar power

Two Rollout Solar Arrays (iROSA) have been launched aboard SpaceX-22 and will be installed in 2021. solar panelusing stored kinetic energy to unfold like a rug or yoga mat, expansion Space station energy production capacity. A second set will be launched in the trunk of SpaceX-26, providing a 20-30% power increase for space station research and operations.

“The first two arrays are performing very well,” said Matt Mickle, Senior Development Project Manager at Boeing. “The solar cells are much more powerful than the previous generation. We made minor changes to the hardware for subsequent launches to improve operational efficiency.”

These arrays are the second of three packages and upgrade 50% of the station’s power channels.The deployment of solar array technology first took place in tested ROSA is used on NASA’s DART asteroid mission, gateway A lunar outpost, a key component of NASA’s Artemis mission. The iROSA program is a great example of using the space station as a testing ground for the technology and research needed to further explore space.

Cutting-edge experiment joins SpaceX's 26th mission to CRS space station

Ground test of Falcon Goggles. The technology captures high-speed video of a subject’s eyes, providing precise data on eye placement and balance, and researchers have developed a method to help crews adapt to different gravitational conditions on future exploration missions. Credit: NASA

Relaxation of gravitational transition

Every space traveler faces a transition from one gravitational field to another. On future exploration missions, an astronaut may encounter three different gravitational fields: weightlessness while traveling through space, the gravity of another planet, and the gravity of the Earth upon return. These transitions affect spatial orientation, head-eye-hand-eye coordination, balance, and locomotion, and may cause some crew members to experience space sickness.

Falcon Goggles hardware captures high-speed video of the subject’s eyes, providing accurate data on eye alignment and balance.

“These goggles allow our researchers to better understand the effects of microgravity. crew Dr. Cherie Oubre, Associate Flight Scientist at NASA, said: Human Research Program“Such a device would be invaluable for preparing astronauts for long-term exploration missions to the Moon and Mars, and could also improve similar technology on Earth.”

Quote: Cutting Edge Experiments to Board SpaceX’s 26th CRS Mission to Space Station (Nov 24, 2022) https://phys.org/news/2022-11-cutting-edge-spacex-26th-crs Retrieved 24 November 2022 from -mission. html

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