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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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