While the International Space Station is traveling more than 261 miles over North Eastern China, a SpaceX Dragon cargo spacecraft automatically docked with the station’s Harmony module at 7:31 am EDT, along with NASA astronauts Woody Hoburg monitoring operations from the station.
Dragon launched on SpaceX’s 27th contracted commercial resupply mission for NASA at 8:30 pm EDT, March 14, from Launch Complex 39A at the agency’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. After Dragon spends about a month attached to the space station, the spacecraft will return to Earth with cargo and research.
Among the science experiments Dragon delivers to the space station are:
Cardinal Heart 2.0
The first Cardinal Heart Research conducted aboard the space station has shown that four weeks of microgravity exposure can cause significant changes in heart cell function and gene expression. The researchers concluded that these changes could lead to long-term medical issues. The Cardinal Heart 2.0 The experiment builds on these results, using heart organoids, 3D structures made up of all the different types of cells in a given organ, to test whether clinically approved drugs can reduce of these microgravity-induced changes in cardiac cell function. The results could support the development of effective drug combinations to improve the health of astronauts and patients on Earth.
Engineered Heart Tissues-2
This study continues to work with 3D cultured cardiac muscle tissue to assess human cardiac function in microgravity. Previous work with 3D cultures in space has detected changes at the cellular and tissue level that can provide an early indication of the development of heart disease. This investigation examines whether new therapies prevent the adverse effects of spaceflight from occurring. The model used in this study has potential use in drug development and other applications related to diagnosing and treating cardiac dysfunction on Earth.
Cardinal Heart 2.0 and Engineered Heart Tissues-2 are the final two experiments consisting of the National Institutes for Health and ISS National Lab’s Tissue Chips in Space initiative. Researchers hope to learn more about microgravity’s impact on human health and disease and translate that understanding into improved human health on Earth.
HUNCH Ball Clamp Monopod
NASA’s High school students United with NASA to Create Hardware (HUNCH) program allows students to create real-world products for NASA while applying their science skills , technology, engineering, and mathematics. The HUNCH Ball Clamp Monopod attempting to address astronaut comments on the difficulty of positioning video or still cameras in the center of a module. The student-made project consists of an aluminum monopod equipped with a camera shoe and ball clamp that can be attached to a standard space station handrail. The ball clamp serves as a pivoting platform for photography and video.
CapiSorb Visible System
Because microgravity makes it difficult to control the flow of fluids, the space station has been unable to take advantage of carbon dioxide removal methods that use special fluids. Liquid-based carbon dioxide removal systems such as those in submarines offer higher efficiency than other types of systems. The CapiSorb Visible System The study shows fluid control using capillary forces, the interaction of a liquid with a solid that can draw a liquid into a narrow tube, characteristic of liquids that can absorb carbon dioxide . This is an important consideration for future longer duration space missions where improved efficiency will sustain crews for months or years.
Microbial biofilms are combinations of microorganisms that embed themselves in a self-produced slimy matrix. Biofilms are a concern for spaceflight because they can cause damage to equipment, resist cleaning agents, and can harbor microorganisms that can cause infections. The ESA (European Space Agency) – Biofilms study investigating bacterial biofilm formation and antimicrobial properties of various metal surfaces under space flight conditions. Antimicrobial surfaces that can inhibit biofilm growth, such as copper and its alloys with and without laser surface treatment, are used in this study. This project provides additional information to help develop suitable antimicrobial surfaces for future spacecraft.
JAXA (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency) Tanpopo-5 investigation studies the origin, transport, and survival of life in space and on extraterrestrial planets, such as Mars. The study focused on exposing a radioresistant bacteria, which is resistant to radiation, and sporophytes of moss, an important part of the lifecycle of some plants, to the harsh environment of space using an exposed Experiment Bracket Attached to the facility of I-SEEP (ExBAS) mounted outside the station. The results help to answer the main questions of the “panspermia” hypothesis, a theory for the beginning of life on Earth and the transport of life to celestial bodies.
These are just a few of the hundreds of investigations currently underway at the orbiting laboratory in the fields of biology and biotechnology, physical science, and Earth and space science. Advances in these areas will help keep astronauts healthy during long space journeys and demonstrate technologies for future human and robotic exploration beyond low-Earth orbit to the Moon by NASA’sArtemismissions and eventually to Mars.
Learn more about station activities by following the space station blog , @space_station and @ISS_Research on Twitter, as well as on ISS Facebook and ISS Instagramaccounts.
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