Dust was collected over a period of several weeks in 2007 from HEPA filters in the U.S. Laboratory Module of the International Space Station (ISS). The dust was returned on the Space Shuttle Atlantis, mixed, sieved and the DNA was extracted. Using a DNA-based method called mold-specific quantitative PCR (MSQPCR), 39 molds were measured in the dust. Potential opportunistic pathogens Aspergillus flavus and Aspergillus niger and potential moderate toxin producers Penicillium chrysogenum and Penicillium brevicompactum were noteworthy. No cells of the potential opportunistic pathogens Aspergillus fumigatus, Aspergillus terreus, Fusarium solani or Candida albicans were detected.
Research Containing: Shuttle
After the launch to the ISS (International Space Station) with The Space Shuttle flight STS 118 13A.1 on August 9th 2007 and the accommodation in the US lab Destiny, the air quality monitor ANITA (Analysing Interferometer for Ambient Air) has been successfully put into operation. ANITA is a technology demonstrator flight experiment being able to continuously monitor with high time resolution the air conditions within the crewed cabins of the ISS. The system has its origin in a long term ESA technology development programme. The ANITA mission itself is an ESA-NASA cooperative project. ESA is responsible for the provision of the HW, the data acquisition and data evaluation. NASA’s responsibilities are launch, accommodation in the US Lab Destiny, operation and data download.The ANITA air analyser is currently calibrated to detect and quantify online and with high time resolution 33 gases simultaneously with down to sub-ppm detection limits. In addition the system has automatic warning capabilities covering possible malfunctions, surprising gases, and gas concentrations above preset limits. – However, owing to the experimental character of this ANITA mission, no measurement results are on-line visible to the crew.ANITA’s standard, fully automatic mode of operation applies direct air sampling in front of the system. Whenever wanted, air samples for automatic analyses can be taken from any human-accessible position in the ISS or any connected spacecraft and fed to ANITA, applying gas bags and a hand pump.ANITA is an on-orbit test experiment and a precursor for a permanent continuous trace gas monitoring system on the ISS – ANITA II. It further represents a precursor system for future air monitoring in crewed vehicles being developed for the Human Space Exploration programme.This paper is part 2 in a series of two papers. The first paper describes the HW and the ANITA mission itself. This paper is dedicated to the data analysis, including the handling of special challenges and some measurement results.On the ISS, ANITA has measured several gases that, before now, have never properly been measured before, including one unexpected gas. And many gases have for the first time been measured with high time resolution. The observed gas dynamics clearly show effects from spacecraft visits to the ISS, crew activities, the number of crew present, and the functioning of the air revitalisation systems. ANITA gives detailed time-resolved information on very different gases such as carbon dioxide and monoxide, methane, ammonia, perfluoro propane, sulphur hexafluoride, siloxanes, and alcohols.It was also demonstrated how ANITA was used to detect and quantify an unexpected gas in the ISS air, and how the system calibration could be updated from ground.The work described has been performed under contract of the European Space Agency.
ANITA (Analysing Interferometer for Ambient Air) is a flight experiment precursor for a permanent continuous air quality monitoring system on the ISS (International Space Station).For the safety of the crew, ANITA can detect and quantify quasi-online and simultaneously 33 gas compounds in the air with ppm or sub-ppm detection limits. The autonomous measurement system is based on FTIR (Fourier Transform Infra-Red spectroscopy). The system represents a versatile air quality monitor, allowing for the first time the detection and monitoring of trace gas dynamics, with high time resolution, in a spacecraft atmosphere.ANITA operated on the ISS from September 2007 to August 2008. This paper summarises the results of ANITA’s air analyses and compares results to other measurements acquired on ISS during the operational period. The main basis of comparison is NASA’s set of grab samples taken onboard the ISS and analysed on ground applying various GC-based (Gas Chromatography) and GC/MS (Mass Spectrometry) systems. Comparison with other real-time instruments aboard ISS included the Volatile Organic Analyzer (VOA), the Compound Specific Analyzer – Combustion Products (CSA-CP), the Carbon Dioxide Monitor (CDM), and the Major Constituent Analyzer (MCA).
The results of an investigation of radiation environment on board the ISS with apogee/perigee of 420/380 km and inclination 51.6° are presented. For measurement of important characteristics of cosmic rays (particles fluxes, LET spectrum, equivalent doses and heavy ions with Z ≥ 2 ) a nuclear photographic emulsion as a controllable threshold detector was used. The use of this detector permits a registration of the LET spectrum of charged particles within wide range of d E / d x and during last years it has already been successfully used on board the MIR station, Space Shuttles and “Kosmos” spacecrafts. An integral LET spectrum was measured in the range 0.5– 2.2 × 10 3 keV / μ m and the value of equivalent dose 360 μ Sv / day was estimated. The flux of biologically dangerous heavy particles with Z ≥ 2 was measured ( 3.85 × 10 3 particles / cm 2 ) .
The nematode Caenorhabditis elegans, a popular organism for biological studies, is being developed as a model system for space biology. The chemically defined liquid medium, C. elegans Maintenance Medium (CeMM), allows axenic cultivation and automation of experiments that are critical for spaceflight research. To validate CeMM for use during spaceflight, we grew animals using CeMM and standard laboratory conditions onboard STS-107, space shuttle Columbia. Tragically, the Columbia was destroyed while reentering the Earth's atmosphere. During the massive recovery effort, hardware that contained our experiment was found. Live animals were observed in four of the five recovered canisters, which had survived on both types of media. These data demonstrate that CeMM is capable of supporting C. elegans during spaceflight. They also demonstrate that animals can survive a relatively unprotected reentry into the Earth's atmosphere, which has implications with regard to the packaging of living material during space flight, planetary protection, and the interplanetary transfer of life.
Astronaut photography of cities collected during Apollo, Skylab, Shuttle, Mir, and International Space Station missions provides a useful dataset for urban analysis that complements the satellite data archive. Recent astronaut photography acquired with digital cameras is now approaching the ground resolutions of commercial satellites such as IKONOS (i.e. less than 6 m/pixel). Astronaut photographs are a relevant source of data for urban analyses, particularly for studies that do not have the resources to purchase commercial-quality data. The CCD image sensors in the cameras currently used for astronaut photography are sensitive to the infrared portion of the electromagnetic spectrum, but infrared signal is filtered out above 700 μm. As such, the digital camera data contain less information on actively synthesizing vegetation than they would with an infrared signal included. We present an analysis of aboveground biomass (i.e. actively photosynthesizing vegetation) derived from astronaut photography of the Paris, France metropolitan area acquired on April 24, 2002 using a Kodak DCS 760C electronic still camera aboard the International Space Station. The accuracy of biomass estimation obtained from the digital camera data is demonstrated by comparison with Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission and Reflection Radiometer visible to near infrared data for Paris acquired on April 8, 2002. Correlations of bands between the two instruments allow interpretation of the identified vegetation and soil classes. Collection of astronaut photography over global urban centers is ongoing and planned for future orbital missions, and will be a useful addition to ongoing studies of urban ecosystem change, sustainability, and resilience.
INTRODUCTION: Iodine is often used for water purification and has been used throughout the U.S. space program. Because of concern about potential effects on crewmembers' thyroid function, in 1997 a system was implemented on board the Space Shuttles to remove iodine from water before it was consumed. We report here thyroid hormone data from crews flying before and after this system was implemented. METHODS: Blood samples were collected and analyzed for thyroid hormone content during routine medical exams before and after Space Shuttle missions. Data are reported for 224 male and 49 female astronauts (about two-thirds of them before implementation of iodine removal). RESULTS: Serum concentrations of total thyroxine (T4) and the free T4 index were elevated in men after flight and triiodothyronine (T3) was lower after flight, regardless of iodine removal status. T4 was higher, even before flight, in the group of men who flew after iodine removal was implemented. Conversely, T3 was lower in men who flew during that period. Before iodine removal was implemented, thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) was elevated in male and tended to be elevated in female astronauts, with average increases of 27% and 19% after flight, respectively. After iodine removal was implemented, postflight TSH was not significantly different from preflight values. DISCUSSION: These data provide evidence that crewmembers' increase in serum TSH on landing day after early Shuttle flights resulted from their consumption of iodinated water during spaceflight, because the same increase was not observed after implementation of the iodine removal system.
Characterization of Volume F trash from the three FY11 STS missions: Trash weights and categorization and microbial characterization
This research project provided microbial characterization support to the Waste Management Systems (WMS) element of NASA's Life Support and Habitation Systems (LSHS) program. Conventional microbiological methods were used to detect and enumerate microorganisms in space-generated solid wastes, i.e., STS Volume F Compartment trash returned from orbit and missions to ISS. Crew generated STS trash was characterized for three shuttle missions: STS 133, STS 134, and STS 135. The waste was catalogued into logical categories, weighed, and the water content determined. Results for FY11 STS missions showed more variability than for the FYlO study of STS 129-132 and indicated some waste was probably not included in what was returned to KSC on the STS. Microbial characterization of wastes from each mission and each category determined the presence of high numbers of microbes in food waste and food packaging, in drink pouches, and in personal hygiene wastes. A number of bacteria and fungi were identified, including known pathogens and some likely opportunistic pathogens that could cause problems if these wastes were exposed to an immune compromised crew.
The purpose of the project has been to characterize and determine the fate of microorganisms in space-generated solid wastes before and after processing by candidate solid waste processing. For FY11, the Heat Melt Compactor (HMC) was the candidate technology that was assessed. Five HMC product disks were produced at ARC from either simulated space-generated trash or from actual space trash. The actual space trash was the STS 130 Volume F compartment wet waste. Conventional microbiological methods were used to detect and enumerate microorganisms in heat melt compaction (HMC) product disks and in surface swab samples of the HMC hardware before and after operation. In addition, biological indicators were added to the STS trash prior to compaction to determine if these spore-forming bacteria could survive the HMC processing conditions, i.e., high temperature (160°C) over a long duration (3 hrs). The HMC disk surfaces were sanitized with 70% alcohol prior to obtaining the core samples to ensure that surface dwelling microbes did not contaminate the HMC product disk interior. Microbiological assays were run before and after sanitization and found that sanitization greatly reduced, but did not eliminate, the number of identified isolate. To characterize the interior of the disks, ten 1.25cm diameter core samples were aseptically obtained from each disk. These were run through the microbial characterization analyses. Low counts of bacteria, on the order of 5 to 50 viable cells per core, were found, indicating that the HMC operating conditions might not be sufficient for absolute sterilization of the waste. However, the direct counts were 6 to 8 orders of magnitude greater, demonstrating that the vast majority of microbes present in the wastes were results from commercial spore test strops that had been added to the wastes prior to HMC operation. Nearly all could be recovered from the HMC disks post-operation and all were showed negative growth when run through the manufacturer’s protocol, meaning that the 1 x 106 or so spores impregnated into the strips were dead. Control test strips, i.e., not exposed to the HMC conditions, were all strongly positive. One area of concern is that the identities of isolates from the cultivable counts included several human pathogens namely Staphylococcus aureus.
We differentiated mouse bone marrow cells in the presence of recombinant macrophage colony stimulating (rM-CSF) factor for 14 days during the flight of space shuttle Space Transportation System (STS)-126. We tested the hypothesis that the receptor expression for M-CSF, c-Fms was reduced. We used flow cytometry to assess molecules on cells that were preserved during flight to define the differentiation state of the developing bone marrow macrophages; including CD11b, CD31, CD44, Ly6C, Ly6G, F4/80, Mac2, c-Fos as well as c-Fms. In addition, RNA was preserved during the flight and was used to perform a gene microarray. We found that there were significant differences in the number of macrophages that developed in space compared to controls maintained on Earth. We found that there were significant changes in the distribution of cells that expressed CD11b, CD31, F4/80, Mac2, Ly6C and c-Fos. However, there were no changes in c-Fms expression and no consistent pattern of advanced or retarded differentiation during space flight. We also found a pattern of transcript levels that would be consistent with a relatively normal differentiation outcome but increased proliferation by the bone marrow macrophages that were assayed after 14 days of space flight. There also was a surprising pattern of space flight influence on genes of the coagulation pathway. These data confirm that a space flight can have an impact on the in vitro development of macrophages from mouse bone marrow cells.