In August 2011, an approach was made to Moët Hennessy USA by a scienti c research company called NanoRacks, LLC based in Houston,Texas, USA. NanoRacks designs and implements research programmes aboard the International Space Station via a Space Act Agreement with NASA, in conditions of micro-gravity, compared to the conditions on Earth. Given its very particular taste pro le, the Ardbeg Islay Single Malt Scotch Whisky was already well known to the scientists of NanoRacks, and they had developed an idea, involving some form of experiment, or examination, of the effect of micro-gravity on the behaviour of terpenes, the building blocks of avour for whisky spirits as well as for many other foods and wines, as research into terpenes in micro-gravity was limited.We were therefore offered an opportunity to participate in this experiment, including contributing to the design of it, however, our timescale for participation was extremely tight. We collected a quantity of Ardbeg distillate (the liquid resulting from distillation which is normally lled into oak barrels for maturation), along with oak wood shavings from the inside of a charred American White Oak ex-Bourbon barrel, which was due to be despatched from the cooperage to Ardbeg Distillery on the Island of Islay for lling with new Ardbeg distillate.These materials were carefully packaged and sent to the NanoRacks scientists in Houston, where they were packaged into their small sample testing system, known as MixStixTM, which in turn were sent to Kazakhstan to be loaded on to the Soyuz booster rocket destined for the International Space Station. A number of the MixStixTM were also sent to us to use as controls. Three days after launch, the MixStixTM were passed over to astronauts aboard the International Space Station.After an initial period of acclimatisation to the conditions aboard the ISS, in January 2012, the experiment was initiated, as the astronauts broke the glass separating walls in the individual MixStixTM, thus allowing the distillate and the oak wood shavings to come into contact with each other. At the same time on Ear th, we initiated the control experiment by breaking the separating wall in my MixStixTM on Islay (which had been sent back to me at Ardbeg Distillery from NanoRack’s laboratories in Houston, USA). The MixStixTM vials remained on the International Space Station until September 2014, nally returning to the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan on 12th September 2014.The vials were in conditions of micro-gravity, with the distillate and oak wood in contact, for a total of 971 days, orbiting the Earth 15 times a day during this period.The MixStixTM vials were delivered back to Ardbeg in November 2014, after which the distillate from both the micro-gravity and Earth control samples was carefully extracted.A range of comparative analyses were then carried out,to determine if there were any differences between the two sets of samples.
Research Containing: Microgravity
BACKGROUND: A number of ophthalmic findings including optic disc edema, globe flattening, and choroidal folds have been observed in several astronauts after long-duration space flights. The authors report the first astronaut with previously documented postflight ophthalmic abnormalities who developed new pathological changes after a repeat long-duration mission. METHODS: A case study of an astronaut with 2 long-duration (6 months) exposures to microgravity. Before and after his first long-duration space flight, he underwent complete eye examination, including fundus photography. Before and after his second flight, 9 years later, he underwent fundus photography, optical coherence tomography, ocular ultrasonography, and brain magnetic resonance imaging, as well as in-flight fundus photography and ultrasound. RESULTS: After his first long-duration mission, the astronaut was documented to have eye findings limited to unilateral choroidal folds and a single cotton wool spot. During a subsequent 6-month mission, he developed more widespread choroidal folds and new onset of optic disc edema in the same eye. CONCLUSION: Microgravity-induced anatomical changes that occurred during the first mission may have set the stage for recurrent or additional changes when the astronaut was subjected to physiological stress of repeat space flight.
Capillary Channel Flow (CCF) EU2–02 on the International Space Station (ISS): An Experimental Investigation of Passive Bubble Separations in an Open Capillary Channel
It would be signi cantly easier to design uid systems for spacecraft if the uid phases behaved similarly to those on earth. In this research an open 15:8 wedge- sectioned channel is employed to separate bubbles from a two-phase ow in a micro- gravity environment. The bubbles appear to rise in the channel and coalesce with the free surface in much the same way as would bubbles in a terrestrial environ- ment, only the combined e ects of surface tension, wetting, and conduit geometry replace the role of buoyancy. The host liquid is drawn along the channel by a pump and noncondensible gas bubbles are injected into it near the channel vertex at the channel inlet. Control parameters include bubble volume, bubble frequency, liq- uid volumetric ow rate, and channel length. The asymmetrically con ned bubbles are driven in the cross- ow direction by capillary forces until they at least become inscribed within the section or until they come in contact with the free surface, whereupon they usually coalesce and leave the ow. The merging of bubbles en- hances, but does not guarantee, the latter. The experiments are performed aboard the International Space Station as a subset of the Capillary Channel Flow experi- ments. The ight hardware is commanded remotely and continuously from ground stations during the tests and an extensive array of experiments is conducted identi- fying numerous bubble ow regimes and regime transitions depending on the ratio and magnitude of the gas and liquid volumetric ow rates. The breadth of the pub- licly available experiments is conveyed herein primarily by narrative and by regime maps, where transitions are approximated by simple expressions immediately useful for the purposes of design and deeper analysis.
A series of fluid physics microgravity experiments with an enough long run time were performed in the ‘‘KIBO,’’ the Japanese Experiment Module aboard the International Space Station, to examine the transition to chaos of the thermocapillary convection in a half zone liquid bridge of silicone oil with a Prandtl number of 112. The temperature difference between the coaxial disks induced the thermocapillary-driven flow, and we experimentally demonstrated that the flow fields underwent a tran- sition from steady flow to oscillatory flow, and finally to chaotic flow with increasing temperature differ- ence. We obtained the surface temperature time series at the middle of the liquid bridge to quantitatively evaluate the transition process of the flow fields. By Fourier analysis, we further confirmed that the flow fields changed from a periodic, to a quasi-periodic, and finally to a chaotic state. The increasing nonlin- earity with the development of the flow fields was confirmed by time-series chaos analysis. The deter- mined Lyapunov exponent and the translation error indicated that the flow fields made transition to the chaotic field with the increasing temperature difference.
Secretory proteins produced by salivary glands are stored in granules and released into saliva. Rodent salivary glands are a reliable experimental model because they are morphologically and functionally similar to those of humans. To determine if the effects of microgravity on secretory proteins are increased on extended flights, their expression in mouse parotid glands, morphological, immuno- cytochemical, and biochemical/molecular methods were employed. Acinar cells of STS-135 (13 day) and Bion-M1 (30 day) flight animals showed an increase of autophagy and apoptosis, while duct cells contained vacuoles with endocytosed proteins. In STS-135, decreases were seen in the regulatory subunit of type II protein kinase A (RII) by Western blotting, and demilune cell and parotid protein (DCPP) and α- amylase (p<0.01) by immunogold labeling, while proline-rich proteins (PRPs, p<0.001) and parotid secretory protein (PSP, p<0.05) were increased. These results suggest microgravity effects on secretion are function-dependent. Microarray analyses showed significant changes in the expression of a number of genes, including components of the cyclic-3',5',-adenosine monophosphate (cyclic AMP) signaling pathway. Compared to habitat ground controls, mice from both flights exhibited altered expression of cyclic AMP-specific phosphodiesterases, adenylate cyclase isoforms, and several A-kinase anchoring proteins. Bion-M1 flight mice showed increases in gene expression for lysozyme and amylase, a decrease in PRPs, and RII expression was unchanged from control values. Secretory protein expression is altered by travel in space, representing a reversible adjustment to microgravity conditions. Ultimately, the goal is to develop a test kit using saliva — an easily obtained body fluid — to assess the physiologic effects of travel in space.
Contribution to the benchmark for ternary mixtures: Measurement of the Soret, diffusion and thermodiffusion coefficients in the ternary mixture THN/IBB/nC12 with 0.8/0.1/0.1 mass fractions in ground and orbital laboratories
We have determined the Soret (ST), diffusion (D, and thermodiffusion (DT) coefficients in a ternary mixture of tetralin-isobutylbenzene-n-dodecane with a composition of 0.80/0.10/0.10 by mass fraction at a temperature of 298K. The Soret coefficients were measured in the microgravity experiment DCMIX1 and on the ground by optical digital interferometry (ODI) using two lasers with different wavelengths. The values of the Soret coefficients were determined from the stationary separation of the components using two- and six-parameter fits. The diffusion coefficients were independently measured using the Taylor Dispersion Technique in the ground laboratory, and the thermodiffusion coefficients were derived from known ST and matrix D. The processing of the data from the DCMIX experiment conducted on the International Space Station is discussed in detail. The multi-user design of the on-board instrument causes perturbations in the component separation. Several recommendations are suggested for improving the quality of the microgravity results. For example, we demonstrated that the tomography reconstruction of the 3-D concentration field allows to restore the underestimated component separation resulting from the spatial non-linearity of the temperature field. Furthermore, to avoid errors in component separation due to mass exchange between the working liquid volume and the expansion volume at the top of the cell, we suggest considering the evolution of the separation only in the lower half of the cell. The results of this study displayed reasonable quantitative agreement between the microgravity and ground experiments.
Gravity is a constant unidirectional stimulus on Earth, and gravitropism in plants involves three phases: perception, transduction, and response. In shoots, perception takes place within the endodermis. To investigate the cellular machinery of perception in microgravity, we conducted a spaceflight study with Arabidopsis thaliana seedlings, which were grown in microgravity in darkness using the Biological Research in Canisters (BRIC) hardware during space shuttle mission STS-131. In the 14-day-old etiolated plants, we studied seedling development and the morphological parameters of the endodermal cells in the petiole. Seedlings from the spaceflight experiment (FL) were compared to a ground control (GC), which both were in the BRIC flight hardware. In addition, to assay any potential effects from growth in spaceflight hardware, we performed another control by growing seedlings in Petri dishes in standard laboratory conditions (termed the hardware control, HC). Seed germination was significantly lower in samples grown in flight hardware (FL, GC) compared to the HC. In terms of cellular parameters of endodermal cells, the greatest differences also were between seedlings grown in spaceflight hardware (FL, GC) compared to those grown outside of this hardware (HC). Specifically, the endodermal cells were significantly smaller in seedlings grown in the BRIC system compared to those in the HC. However, a change in the shape of the cell, suggesting alterations in the cell wall, was one parameter that appears to be a true microgravity effect. Taken together, our results suggest that caution must be taken when interpreting results from the increasingly utilized BRIC spaceflight hardware system and that it is important to perform additional ground controls to aid in the analysis of spaceflight experiments.
The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency developed the mouse Habitat Cage Unit (HCU) for installation in the Cell Biology Experiment Facility (CBEF) onboard the Japanese Experimental Module (“Kibo”) on the International Space Station. The CBEF provides “space-based controls” by generating artificial gravity in the HCU through a centrifuge, enabling a comparison of the biological consequences of microgravity and artificial gravity of 1 g on mice housed in space. Therefore, prior to the space experiment, a ground-based study to validate the habitability of the HCU is necessary to conduct space experiments using the HCU in the CBEF. Here, we investigated the ground-based effect of a 32-day housing period in the HCU breadboard model on male mice in comparison with the control cage mice. Morphology of skeletal muscle, the thymus, heart, and kidney, and the sperm function showed no critical abnormalities between the control mice and HCU mice. Slight but significant changes caused by the HCU itself were observed, including decreased body weight, increased weights of the thymus and gastrocnemius, reduced thickness of cortical bone of the femur, and several gene expressions from 11 tissues. Results suggest that the HCU provides acceptable conditions for mouse phenotypic analysis using CBEF in space, as long as its characteristic features are considered. Thus, the HCU is a feasible device for future space experiments.
Contribution to the benchmark for ternary mixtures: Measurement of diffusion and Soret coefficients in 1,2,3,4-tetrahydronaphthalene, isobutylbenzene, and dodecane onboard the ISS
The paper is devoted to processing the data of DCMIX 1 space experiment. In this experiment, the Optical digital interferometry was used to measure the diffusion and Soret coefficients in the ternary mixture of 1,2,3,4-tetrahydronaphthalene, isobutylbenzene and n-dodecane at mass fractions of 0.8/0.1/0.1 and at 25 degrees C. The raw interferometric images were processed to obtain the temporal and spatial evolution of refractive indices for two laser beams of different wavelengths. The method for extracting the diffusion and thermal diffusion coefficients originally developed for optical beam deflection was extended to optical digital interferometry allowing for the spatial variation of refractive index along the diffusion path. The method was validated and applied to processing the data for Soret and diffusion steps in 5 experimental runs. The obtained results for the Soret coefficients and one of the eigenvalues of diffusion matrix showed acceptable agreement within each step. The second eigenvalue was not determined with sufficient accuracy.
Complex Plasma Research under Microgravity Conditions: PK-3 Plus Laboratory on the International Space Station
Complex (dusty) plasmas are composed of weakly ionised gas and charged microparticles and represent the plasma state of soft matter. Due to the ”heavy” component — the microparticles — and the low density of the surrounding medium, the rarefied gas and plasma, it is necessary to perform experiments under microgravity conditions to cover a broad range of experimental parameters which are not available on ground. The investiga- tions have been performed onboard the International Space Station (ISS) with the help of the ”Plasma Crystal-3 Plus” (PK-3 Plus) laboratory. It was perfectly suited for the formation of large stable liquid and crystalline sys- tems and provided interesting insights into processes like crystallisation and melting, laning in binary mixtures, electrorheological effects due to ac electric fields and projectile interaction with a strongly coupled complex plasma cloud.