NASA, International Space Station, Cygnus, Northrop Grumman, Antares, Katherine Johnson Why the ISS Will Be Receiving Experiments With Worms and Grape Juice
. Northrop Grummans Antares rocket is getting ready to launch CRS 15 and there are some game changing experiments that will help us further our knowledge of how humans can adapt to long term, space travel from material testing, muscle, atrophy in worms and even grape juice, fermentation …, and No, its not exactly wine. Northop Grumman is a longtime favorite. As far as NASA resupply missions go., The company has been supplying its Antares rockets since the early 2010s and will continue to do so until at least 2023.. This is mostly because this low cost two stage middle class rocket is reliable as heck. And in the last two years installed. Two newly built RD 181 engines to the first stage of its rocket.. Its latest payload capacity is now 8000 kg helping to get to Low Earth Orbit with ease., And the cargo capsule Well. Antares is rarely ever seen nowadays without the Cygnus spacecraft.. This is because its another reliable craft that already delivered more than 30000 kg of critical cargo to the ISS during its first contract missions. And its first launch of this year, is NG 15 and the capsule. This time around is named after mathematician, Katherine Johnson, who played a critical role during the early days of human space flight.. The mission will be carrying a load more of exciting experiments., Starting with an oldie but a goodie. Back in 2018, the Materials International Space Station Experiment Flight Facility, also known as MISSE FF, was permanently installed outside of the station.
It doesnt do much just stands still in Different directions for periods of time, but is probably one of the most vital, ongoing experiments aboard the ISS and thats, because it tests various materials for the harsh environment of space. Were talking literally any kind of material from paints to solar, cells.. Misse. Ff is actually part of a longer MISSE series, starting back in 2001 and to date, its tested more than 4000 kinds of materials., Some of which have helped push our understanding of our solar, panels. And now theyre, sending up phosphor, powders and composites that are used for Rapid temperature measurement from 0 degrees celsius to 1200 degrees, celsius. Results from this experiment can inform scientists on if phosphor composites can be used in petroleum, healthcare and aerospace industries.. Ultimately, though, researchers want more than materials to last in space. We want humans up there too., But muscle atrophy is one of the leading challenges of long term space duration.. So to understand how our muscles degrade in space were sending up some worms with our astronauts in a special device known as the NemaFlex. Dr. Siva Vanapallo quotSo. In terms of the animal it’s, it’s really small.quot quotAnd, if you want to measure how strong it isquot quotyou need to really figure out a way to measure all the forces which this worm is exerting.quot quotSo. Our lab and students have built this devicequot quotwhich essentially has an array of soft colorsquot quotand the worm as it cross to these array of this of these pillarsquot quotwe can record pictures of how much of the deflectionquot quotwhich is happening sends the result.
quot Its important to Note that this isnt, just any old worm, either. Theyre nematodes known as C. Elegans – and they are a cost effective model organism to test on, because theyre, not only flight proven but theyre, the first animal to have their entire genome sequenced., Meaning researchers can see changes in Their system pretty easily., One of which is the expression of key muscle genes being reduced while the worms are in spaceflight. With NemaFlex researchers can now see if that decreased expression is related to the strength. The worms push out while theyre going through the device. And whats more. They can reproduce quickly and scientists will be able to see if this gene passed on to other generations., Dr. Siva Vanapallo quotSo. As a result, if we do observe that our device is able to record these changes in strengthquot quotthen, it opens up tremendous opportunities in conducting experiments on different drugsquot, quotand figuring out how to maintain and improve the health of astronauts.quot And scientists are not only worried about How our bodies would fare in space, but also how long food would last. And a team in collaboration between Michael David, Winery and Common Sense Solutions are talking about grape juice … that will sort of be made into wine. Jeff Farthing quotWe’re, not really looking at it. As making wine.quot quotIn essence, we will be making wine out therequot quotand we’re, going to end up with an alcoholic beverage on our hands.quot quotIt’s, not going to be anything that’s going to be pleasantquot, quotbut it’s going to be a better piece of the puzzle to do It this wayquot quotto present to other scientists who are going to be looking at how food would be managed in outer space.
quot, Although it seems like grape juice, isnt, the top of everyones nutrition list. Its a good case study for more crops., The ISS team will be monitoring the fermentation process of the juice to understand how microbiota will act in microgravity. Microbes can determine lots of variables when it comes to fruit, like their size, shape, flavor and even yield. Jeff Farthing Quotmicrobiota would just be really any microbe that’s out therequot, quotmeaning, bacteria or yeast.quot. Quotthose are the two main players in what is going to break down. Food.Quot quotIt’s already been studied. Many many times.quot quotWe know what’s happening on earth.quot quotIt’s what’s, going to happen up in space. That’S what’s going to be interesting.quot, So how do they plan to do it? Jeff Farthing, quotSo we’re, going to make little micro fermentations.quot quotThis is what we’re doing it in.. This is an IV bagquot quotthat’s, already approved for NASA.quot quotWe’re, going to put about 200 milliliters in here very smallquot quotand, then we’re going to let the fermentation happen. Naturally.Quot And throughout 15 days, several samples will be taken and placed in a freezer until the samples are ready to return to Earth for analysis.. Now this is just a taste of the countless experiments astronauts are up to in the floating lab. We call the ISS., And this latest launch is expected to head up there in mid to late February 2021. And its always exciting, no matter how big or small. Each experiment gets us closer to better understanding ourselves, our world and the space we may one day live In.
Space isnt just for astronauts., If youve ever wanted to send an experiment to the ISS, now may be your chance.. The Center for the Advancement of Science in Space or CASIS has officially announced theyre looking for concept submissions by February 25 2021, and these can be anything like translational medicine and technology. Demonstrations. Dont miss out and dont forget to subscribe to Seeker for all your space news..