Microgravity induces alterations in the function- ing of immune cell; however, the underlying mechanisms have not yet been identified. In this study, hemocytes (blood cells) of the blue mussel Mytilus edulis were investigated under altered gravity conditions. The study was conducted on the ground in preparation for the BIOLAB TripleLux- B experiment, which will be performed on the International Space Station (ISS). On-line kinetic measurements of reac- tive oxygen species (ROS) production during the oxidative burst and thus cellular activity of isolated hemocytes were performed in a photomultiplier (PMT)-clinostat (simulated microgravity) and in the 1g operation mode of the clino- stat in hypergravity on the Short-Arm Human Centrifuge (SAHC) as well as during parabolic flights. In addition to studies with isolated hemocytes, the effect of altered gravity conditions on whole animals was investigated. For this pur- pose, whole mussels were exposed to hypergravity (1.8 g) on a multi-sample incubator centrifuge (MuSIC) or to simu- lated microgravity in a submersed clinostat. After exposure for 48 h, hemocytes were taken from the mussels and ROS production was measured under 1 g conditions. The results from the parabolic flights and clinostat studies indicate that mussel hemocytes respond to altered gravity in a fast and reversible manner. Hemocytes (after cryo-conservation)exposed to simulated microgravity (μ g), as well as fresh hemocytes from clinorotated animals, showed a decrease in ROS production. Measurements during a permanent exposure of hemocytes to hypergravity (SAHC) show a decrease in ROS production. Hemocytes of mussels mea- sured after the centrifugation of whole mussels did not show an influence to the ROS response at all. Hypergravity dur- ing parabolic flights led to a decrease but also to an increase in ROS production in isolated hemocytes, whereas the cen- trifugation of whole mussels did not influence the ROS response at all. This study is a good example how ground- based facility experiments can be used to prepare for an upcoming ISS experiment, in this case the TRIPLE LUX B experiment.
Research Containing: parabolic flight
The Resonant Inductive Near-Field Generation System uses a single set of hardware to perform both electromagnetic formation flight and wireless power transfer operations in a six-degree-of-freedom microgravity environment. The system serves primarily as a test bed for control algorithms, and operation onboard the International Space Station allows for more complicated and realistic algorithms to be tested. This offers an advantage compared with the restrictive, dynamic environment of flat floor facilities on the ground or the limited duration of reduced-gravity flights. The hardware attaches to the formation flight-test facility inside the International Space Station referred to as the Synchronized Position Hold, Engage, Reorient, Experimental Satellites. Design and development of the support hardware and electronics, as well as some test results from ground testing, a parabolic flight campaign, and preliminary test sessions on the International Space Station are presented. Ground tests and the parabolic flight campaign results include preliminary inertia and thruster characterization of the combined Resonant Inductive Near-field Generation System/Synchronized Position Hold, Engage, Reorient, Experimental Satellites assembly. Preliminary on-orbit test results include data demonstrating wireless power transfer of approximately 30% and qualitative observations of electromagnetic formation flight with one Resonant Inductive Near-Field Generation System unit restrained and the other unit free floating.
Made In Space, Inc. participated in four weeks of microgravity testing with NASA’s Flight Opportunities Program during the Fall of 2011 and Summer of 2013. The company tested the effects of microgravity on custom built and commercially available extrusion additive manufacturing machines, more commonly known as 3D printers. The testing took place on board a modified Boeing 727 aircraft flown by the Zero-G corporation, in conjunction with NASA’s Reduced Gravity Office and Flight Opportunities Program. The company has utilized the knowledge gained through this campaign on the project that will deliver the first 3D printer to the International Space Station (ISS). 3D printing in space is an enabling technology that is crucial to the exploration for space beyond the low Earth orbit environment. In order for 3D printing to finally be realized as a permanent fixture is space exploration, the behavior must be fully understaff in microgravity. Various 3D printers were flown and tested, as well as multiple individual sub-components. With some modification to the key systems, Made in Space was able to demonstrate that additive manufacturing with extrusion-based machines functions similarly in microgravity as it does on the ground, allowing for a full proof of concept. The microgravity flight enabled the Technology Readiness Level (TRL) of the technology to be elevated to a TRL-6.
Pool Boiling Heat Transfer on the International Space Station: Experimental Results and Model Verification
The relatively poor understanding of gravity effects on pool boiling heat transfer can be attributed to the lack of long duration high-quality microgravity data, g-jitter associated with ground-based low gravity facilities, little data at intermediate gravity levels, and a poor understanding of the effect of important parameters even at earth gravity conditions. The results of over 200 pool boiling experiments with n-perfluorohexane as the test fluid performed aboard the International Space Station (ISS) are presented in this paper. A flat, transparent, constant temperature microheater array was used to perform experiments over a wide range of temperatures (55 °C < Tw < 107.5 °C), pressures (0.58 atm < P < 1.86 atm), subcoolings (1 °C ≤ ΔTsub ≤ 26 °C), and heater sizes (4.2 mm ≤ Lh ≤ 7.0 mm). The boiling process was visualized from the side and bottom. Based on this high quality microgravity data (a/g<10−6 ), the recently reported gravity scaling parameter for heat flux, which was primarily based on parabolic flight experiments, was modified to account for these new results. The updated model accurately predicts the experimental microgravity data to within ±20%. The robustness of this framework in predicting low gravity heat transfer is further demonstrated by predicting many of the trends in the pool boiling literature that cannot be explained by any single model.
The surface evolver (SE) algorithm is a valued numerical tool for computations of complex equilibrium interfacial phenomena. In this work, an iterative procedure is implemented such that SE can be employed to predict steady-state flows along capillary channels of arbitrary cross-section. As a demonstration, a one-dimensional stream filament flow model is solved that approximates the pressure changes inside the channel. Despite its simplicity, the precision, stability, and speed of the method affirm it as an efficient and unique design tool for a variety of capillary flow problems. The procedure is ideally suited for slender column flows such as open wedge channel flows, several of which are validated herein via parabolic flight and drop tower experiments.
The concept of using low gravity experimental data together with fluid dynamical numerical simulations for measuring the viscosity of highly viscous liquids was recently validated on the International Space Station (ISS). After testing the proof of concept for this method with parabolic flight experiments, an ISS experiment was proposed and later conducted onboard the ISS in July, 2004 and subsequently in May of 2005. In that experiment a series of two liquid drops were brought manually together until they touched and then were allowed to merge under the action of capillary forces alone. The merging process was recorded visually in order to measure the contact radius speed as the merging proceeded. Several liquids were tested and for each liquid several drop diameters were used. It has been shown that when the coefficient of surface tension for the liquid is known, the contact radius speed can then determine the coefficient of viscosity for that liquid. The viscosity is determined by fitting the experimental speed to theoretically calculated contact radius speed for the same experimental parameters. Experimental and numerical results will be presented in which the viscosity of different highly viscous liquids were determined, to a high degree of accuracy, using this technique.
For long-term exposure to space it is crucial to understand the underlying mechanisms for altered physiological functions. We have chosen the sea urchin system to study the effects of microgravity on various cellular processes visible during fertilization and subsequent development. We report here on experiments performed on NASA's KC-135 during parabolic flight trajectories to validate procedures to be implemented as part of the first Aquatic Research Facility Space Shuttle experiment on STS-77.
The objectives of this experiment are to perform natural fertilization and to achieve embryonic development in microgravity. Pleurodeles waltl, an urodele amphibian, is considered by CNES and NASA to be suitable experimental material for achieving in vivo fertilization in space. Previously inseminated females can be embarked in the Frog Environmental Unit (FEU) developed by NASA. Laying of eggs will be provoked by hormonal stimulation in flight and development will be followed. Various technical problems have been resolved in laboratory experiments and during parabolic flights : the time of hormone stimulation after insemination, choice of hormone guaranteeing [correction of guarenteing] 95% success, other factors conditioning [correction of conditionning] the laying, experimental procedures to study developmental kinetics at phenotypic levels, and selection of cellular and molecular markers of development.
We measured the effect of the orientation of the visual background on the perceptual upright (PU) under different levels of gravity. Brief periods of micro- and hypergravity conditions were created using two series of parabolic flights. Control measures were taken in the laboratory under normal gravity with subjects upright, right side down and supine. Participants viewed a polarized, natural scene presented at various orientations on a laptop viewed through a hood which occluded all other visual cues. Superimposed on the screen was a character the identity of which depended on its orientation. The orientations at which the character was maximally ambiguous were measured and the perceptual upright was defined as half way between these orientations. The visual background affected the orientation of the PU less when in microgravity than when upright in normal gravity and more when supine than when upright in normal gravity. A weighted vector sum model was used to quantify the relative influence of the orientations of gravity, vision and the body in determining the perceptual upright.