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ISS Research Summary for 6 November 2006

Status Report From: Johnson Space Center
Posted: Friday, November 17, 2006

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Michael Lopez-Alegria collected a third set of blood and urine samples for the Nutrition Status Assessment (Nutrition) experiment. This experiment is the most comprehensive in-flight study done by NASA to date of human physiologic changes during long-duration space flight; this includes measures of bone metabolism, oxidative damage, nutritional assessments, and hormonal changes. Lopez-Alegria volunteered his personal time on Saturday, November 11 to complete SPHERES (Synchronized Position Hold, Engage, Reorient, Experimental Satellites) formation flying tests. He spent 4 and a half hours testing the algorithms that are improving the control of two bowling-ball sized spheres floating inside the ISS cabin. He also continued his weekly Journals entries (study of the behavioral effects of isolation and confinement during spaceflight). The Sleep-Long Actiwatch continues to collect data on his light exposure and sleep patterns as Lopez-Alegria keeps a daily personal sleep log. This will allow a comparison of the data collected automatically by the Actiwatch with his own perception of sleep quality and duration. This week, he also made videos of his sleep station for reference by the investigator team.

High school students from the Washington DC area interviewed the three crewmembers onboard ISS as part of National Education Week. About 100 students joined educator astronauts Barbara Morgan and Rickey Arnold joined Deputy Secretary of Education Raymond Simon for the interviews. A story on the even was broadcast on the educational network "Channel One," reaching millions of students around the country. In-flight Education Downlinks such as this one happen several times per expedition on ISS. Crewmembers photographed the Earth on a time-available basis as part of the Crew Earth Observations (CEO) project.

Passive experiments (ongoing without crew efforts): Outside ISS, the MISSE-3 and 4 materials investigations are being exposed to the orbital environment. Three identical packages of pharmaceuticals and foods are also passively experiencing the internal ISS environment as part of the Stability investigation. One of the packages will be returned on shuttle flight 13A in March 2007 after 6 months of exposure, while the others will return at 9 and 12-months of exposure. This experiment is quantifying the breakdown of key drugs and vitamins that has been observed anecdotally on previous ISS missions. Knowing the time course of effects of radiation and temperature will help in the development of stable food systems and selection of medications that will help to protect the health of the crews on ISS and on future lunar missions.

International Partner Science

Thomas Reiter measured blood pressure, cardiac output, sympathetic nervous activity, and collected urine for the Card (Long Term Microgravity: A Model for Investigating Mechanisms of Heart Disease with New Portable Equipment) investigation. Cardiac output is measured using a rebreathing technique with the Pulmonary Function System in the Human Research Facility Rack-2 (HRF-2). Card focuses on the decrease in blood volume that occurs in microgravity and its effects on blood pressure and heart function. This week tested the impact of a temporary increase in blood volume from salt loading (consuming an additional 9 g per day). Reiter took additional imagery of the inside of ISS as part of the ERB (Erasmus Recording Binocular) activity. The imagery will be used to develop a 3D virtual reality model of ISS. Reiter also continued to take skin measurements to test the performance of an experimental skin cream as part of the ESA SkinCare experiment. Radiation monitoring inside the ISS is ongoing using 3 different and complimentary sets of dosimeters as part of international experiments: Matroshka-R (MTR-2), ALTCRISS (Alteino Long Term monitoring of Cosmic Rays on the ISS), and ALTEA (Anomalous Long Term Effects in Astronauts' Central Nervous System)

The Look Ahead for 11/13/2006

This week the crew will be focused on preparing for the upcoming EVA (extra-vehicular activity, planned for November 22). This EVA supports several Russian experiments outside the Service Module, including changing samples on the SKK materials exposure facility and installing the BTN-Neutron hardware for the study of the ISS radiation environment. Data collected on sleep patterns during sleep shifting prior to EVA is very important. Lopez-Alegria will downlink another batch of Actiwach data for the Sleep-Long experiment early in the week, and complete his personal sleep log during this critical period. Thomas Reiter will complete another run of the NOA-1/ESANO-1 experiment. This study measures expired Nitrous oxide as an indicator of respiratory inflammation or stress from breathing the air in the closed cabin environment of ISS.

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