Topic: International Space Station
Written by Elizabeth Landau
Pasadena, CA – A piece of tape can only be used a few times before the adhesion wears off and it can no longer hold two surfaces together. But researchers at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, are working on the ultimate system of stickiness, inspired by geckos.
Thanks to tiny hairs on the bottom of geckos’ feet, these lizards can cling to walls with ease, and their stickiness doesn’t wear off with repeated usage. JPL engineer Aaron Parness and colleagues used that concept to create a material with synthetic hairs that are much thinner than a human hair. When a force is applied to make the tiny hairs bend, that makes the material stick to a desired surface.
NASA Kennedy Space Center
Kennedy Space Center, FL – The six astronauts currently living on the International Space Station (ISS) have become the first people to eat food grown in space. The fresh red romaine lettuce that accompanied the crew’s usual freeze-dried fare, however, is far from the first crop grown on a space station.
For decades, NASA and other agencies have experimented with plants in space, but the results were always sent to Earth for examination, rather than eaten.
A number of technologies NASA has explored for these space-farming experiments also have returned to Earth over the years and found their way onto the market.
Written by Linda Herridge
Kennedy Space Center, FL – Fresh food grown in the microgravity environment of space officially is on the menu for the first time for NASA astronauts on the International Space Station. Expedition 44 crew members, including NASA’s one-year astronaut Scott Kelly, are ready to sample the fruits of their labor after harvesting a crop of “Outredgeous” red romaine lettuce Monday, August 10th, from the Veggie plant growth system on the nation’s orbiting laboratory.
The astronauts will clean the leafy greens with citric acid-based, food safe sanitizing wipes before consuming them. They will eat half of the space bounty, setting aside the other half to be packaged and frozen on the station until it can be returned to Earth for scientific analysis.
Washington, D.C. – Astronauts on the International Space Station give up many pleasures to take those giant leaps in the name of science. They leave behind fresh vegetables, relaxing hot showers, warm sunshine, gently misting rain, and much more.
One of the things astronauts say they miss most is a good cup of coffee. How would YOU like to start your morning sucking freeze dried coffee through a straw from a sealed plastic bag?
Good news for astronauts: Morning Joe recently got an upgrade. On April 20th, SpaceX delivered to the space station a new microgravity coffee machine named “ISSpresso.”
Washington, D.C. – NASA and Microsoft are teaming up to develop Sidekick, a new project using commercial technology to empower astronauts aboard the International Space Station (ISS).
Sidekick uses Microsoft HoloLens to provide virtual aid to astronauts working off the Earth, for the Earth. A pair of the devices is scheduled to launch on SpaceX’s seventh commercial resupply mission to the station on June 28th.
Written by Tony Phillips
Washington, D.C. – Humans have long been fascinated by the cosmos. Ancient cave paintings show that we’ve been thinking about space for much of the history of our species. The popularity of recent sci-fi movies suggest that the human mind just might be coming to grips with the harsh environment “out there.”
The human body is another matter.
When gravity is greatly reduced—as in spaceflight—we no longer use our muscles to resist the usual pull of a planetary mass, and, without additional exercise astronauts lose both bone and muscle.
NASA reports International Space Station uses OPALS instrument to further laser communications research
Written by Elizabeth Landau
Pasadena, CA – Ever wonder why stars seem to twinkle? This effect is caused by variations in the density of our atmosphere that cause blurring in light coming from space. It’s pretty for stargazing, but a challenge for space-to-ground communications.
A key technology called adaptive optics corrects such distortions. By combining adaptive optics with a laser communications technology aboard the International Space Station, NASA is working toward advances in space communications that could have major benefits for our data transmission needs here on Earth as well.
Written by Rob Gutro
Greenbelt, MD – The ISS-RapidScat instrument has been in orbit seven months, and forecasters are already finding this new eye-in-the-sky helpful as they keep watch on major storms around the globe.
RapidScat measures Earth’s ocean surface wind speed and direction over open waters. The instrument’s data on ocean winds provide essential measurements for researchers and scientists to use in weather predictions, including hurricane monitoring.
Written by Laura Niles
Houston, TX – Researchers may be “excyted” to learn that osteocyte cultures are headed to the International Space Station this spring for the first time. With their delivery on the next SpaceX commercial resupply services mission this month, the Osteocytes and mechano-transduction (Osteo-4) investigation team will analyze the effects of microgravity on this type of bone cell.
Understanding these effects will be critical as astronauts plan for future missions that require longer exposure to microgravity, such as to deep space or Mars.
Written by Rachel Molina
Washington, D.C. – Alzheimer’s disease is a global problem. In the United States alone, more than 5 million people have the disease and a new diagnosis is made every 67 seconds—numbers that are just a fraction of worldwide totals. Among medical researchers, Alzheimer’s is a top priority.
Researchers working with astronauts on the International Space Station are embarking on a mission to discover the origin of Alzheimer’s. Although the details are still a little fuzzy, researchers believe that Alzheimer’s and similar diseases advance when certain proteins in the brain assemble themselves into long fibers that accumulate and ultimately strangle nerve cells in the brain.
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