International Space Station Expedition Five science

November 08, 2002

A trio of European physical science experiments were conducted in the Microgravity Science Glovebox aboard the International Space Station (ISS) during the past week.

European Space Agency Flight Engineer Frank DeWinne from Belgium, a member of the visiting Soyuz spacecraft crew, on Friday successfully installed and activated the Protein Crystal Growth Monitoring by Digital Holographic Microscope (PromISS) experiment, followed on Saturday by the Diffusion Coefficients in Crude Oil (DCCO). NASA ISS Science Officer Peggy Whitson assisted DeWinne during the Glovebox installation activity.

The goal of DCCO is to mix and observe the changes in several compounds representative of the crude oil chemical families, including n-dodecane, tetrahydronaphthalene and isobutylbenzene. The results could yield insights in petroleum processing.The PromISS uses a digital holographic microscope to accurately measure the refractive index changes in the precipitating solution surrounding proteins in the process of crystallization in capillaries. Analysis of the structure of protein crystalscould provide new information useful in the fields of pharmaceuticals, biotechnology and agriculture.

On Sunday, Expedition Five Commander Valery Korzun and Whitson conducted the Pulmonary Function in Flight (PuFF) experiment. The PuFF session includes five lung function tests for each crewmember. The focus is on measuring changes in the evenness of gas exchange in the lungs and on detecting changes in respiratory muscle strength caused by long periods in the absence of gravity. The results will help in maintaining crew health during long space missions. This is one of many human life sciences experiments being conducted on Expedition Five under the auspices of the Life Sciences program at NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas.

DCCO was successfully concluded on Tuesday and it was replaced in the Glovebox by the Study of Aggregation Mechanism and Kinetics of Nanoslabs (NANOSLAB) experiment.NANOSLAB is designed to study the effects of convection and sedimentation during bulk formation of Silicalite-1 and Silicalite-1 containing aluminum - zeolite materials important in several industrial applications. Zeolites are found in many manufacturing processes on Earth because of their ability to absorb and hold on to materials until they are heated or put under reduced pressure.

On Wednesday, selected members of the crew filled out the weekly Crew Interactions computer survey on a laptop computer. The study identifies important interpersonal and cultural factors that could affect performance during long space missions.On Thursday, the crew will set up, operate and deactivate the final European experiment - Combustion Synthesis under Microgravity Conditions (COSMIC) - in the Glovebox. The goal of COSMIC is to investigate combustion processes and the resulting structures in compressed metal powders. This research has significant relevance to the synthesis of advanced materials such as intermetallics, ceramics and metal-matrix composites.

The NANOSLAB and PromISS experiments also will be deactivated Thursday and removed for return to Earth.

The crew also is scheduled to collect background radiation dosimeter badge readings on the EVA Radiation Monitoring (EVARM) experiment on Thursday in preparation for spacewalks during the STS-113 Shuttle mission set for launch on Nov. 11. EVARM is the first radiation experiment to measure radiation dosages encountered by the eyes, internal organs and skin during specific spacewalks and relate it to the type of activity, location and other factors. Analysis of this information may help reduce potential exposure to spacewalkers in the future.Crew

Earth Observation photography subjects for this week included Miami, Fla., Las Vegas, Nev., Phoenix and Tucson, Ariz., Midway Islands, Pearl and Hermes Reefs and Lisianski Reef in the Pacific, the Nile River Delta, Angiers, Algeria, Angolan biomass burning, and industrialized Southeast Africa.During the past week, the crew continued to perform daily maintenance and status checks on ISS experiments.

They also prepared the Station lab for the arrival of a Soyuz taxi ship this week and approximately eight days of European science experiments to be conducted in the Microgravity Science Glovebox.
-end-


NASA/Marshall Space Flight Center News Center

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