Balancing Extreme Cold Physics and Immunity Research Aboard the International Space Station

by Hiroshi Tanaka
1 comment
Space Research

The International Space Station (ISS) witnessed a dedicated pursuit of scientific endeavors on Monday, November 27, with a particular focus on ultra-cold space physics and immunity research. This article delves into the fascinating activities carried out by the seven-member Expedition 70 crew, who are not only advancing these critical areas of study but also diligently managing cargo operations and maintaining essential lab systems.

One of the most intriguing facets of the ISS’s scientific endeavors is the Cold Atom Lab, which may very well house the coldest place in the universe. This cutting-edge quantum research device achieves temperatures approaching absolute zero, surpassing the frigid conditions of outer space itself. NASA Flight Engineer Jasmin Moghbeli played a pivotal role in configuring components and installing hardware to conduct a controller test for this facility. The Cold Atom Lab enables scientists to make unique observations of atomic wave functions, a feat unattainable on our home planet due to its extreme low-temperature capabilities.

Furthermore, Commander Andreas Mogensen, representing the European Space Agency (ESA), made significant contributions to the Immunity Assay biology study. By collecting and processing his blood and saliva samples, Mogensen actively participated in investigating cellular immunity in the unique environment of space. Subsequently, he carefully stored a set of samples within a science freezer and another set within the Kubik incubator for future analysis.

In the realm of maintenance, astronauts Loral O’Hara and Satoshi Furukawa dedicated their efforts on Monday. O’Hara meticulously inspected the COLBERT treadmill located in the Tranquility module. Her tasks included photographing and cleaning components, ensuring pin alignment, and lubricating axles, all in the pursuit of maintaining this crucial equipment. On the other hand, Furukawa, representing the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), focused on servicing equipment within the Kibo laboratory module. His responsibilities involved ensuring the proper functioning of gear responsible for cooling and heat rejection, thus contributing to a safe operating environment on the space station.

The collaboration between Furukawa, Mogensen, and Moghbeli extended to loading cargo inside the SpaceX Dragon spacecraft, currently docked to the Harmony module’s forward port. This mission-critical spacecraft arrived on November 11, bearing approximately 6,500 pounds of essential equipment, including advanced science hardware designed for studying laser communications and atmospheric gravity waves. Anticipated for mid-December, Dragon is slated for a return journey to Earth, carrying valuable hardware and completed science experiments that will be retrieved and analyzed.

The Roscosmos Progress 84 resupply ship is poised to conclude its mission as it departs on Wednesday after six months of being docked to the Poisk module. Flight Engineer Nikolai Chub played a pivotal role in packing trash and discarded gear within the departing Progress spacecraft, which will reenter the Earth’s atmosphere above the South Pacific Ocean, ensuring a safe and controlled disposal. This departure marks the prelude to the arrival of Progress 86, scheduled to launch at 4:25 a.m. EDT on Friday, carrying nearly 5,600 pounds of cargo. Its automatic docking to the Poisk module at 6:14 a.m. on Sunday heralds a seamless transition of vital supplies.

In another corner of the space station, veteran cosmonaut Oleg Kononenko embarked on a day filled with scientific inquiry. His activities ranged from pointing a specialized camera towards Earth to gather atmospheric and climatic data to a study focused on the impact of spaceflight conditions, including electrical and magnetic fields, on fluid systems. Meanwhile, first-time space flyer Konstantin Borisov diligently serviced a range of life support and communications gear. During the afternoon, he embarked on the collection of air samples within the Roscosmos modules, destined for chemical analysis.

In conclusion, the activities aboard the International Space Station on November 27 showcased the tireless dedication of the Expedition 70 crew to advance our understanding of extreme cold physics and immunity in the unique environment of space. These endeavors not only contribute to scientific knowledge but also underline the critical role played by the ISS in advancing human exploration beyond our planet.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Space Research

What were the primary science objectives aboard the International Space Station (ISS) on November 27?

On November 27, the primary science objectives on the ISS included ultra-cold space physics and immunity research. These areas of study were at the forefront of scientific activities conducted by the Expedition 70 crew.

What is the Cold Atom Lab on the ISS, and why is it significant?

The Cold Atom Lab on the ISS is a quantum research device that chills atoms to temperatures near absolute zero, making it one of the coldest places in the universe. It allows scientists to make unique observations of atomic wave functions at extremely low temperatures, which is not possible on Earth. This lab is significant for advancing our understanding of fundamental physics.

What role did NASA Flight Engineer Jasmin Moghbeli play on November 27?

Jasmin Moghbeli configured components and installed hardware for a controller test of the Cold Atom Lab, contributing to its ongoing research. She also played a role in other scientific activities aboard the ISS.

How did Commander Andreas Mogensen contribute to scientific research on the ISS?

Commander Andreas Mogensen, representing the European Space Agency (ESA), participated in the Immunity Assay biology study. He collected and processed blood and saliva samples to explore cellular immunity in the unique environment of space.

What were the maintenance tasks carried out by astronauts Loral O’Hara and Satoshi Furukawa?

Astronaut Loral O’Hara inspected and maintained the COLBERT treadmill in the Tranquility module, ensuring its proper functioning. Satoshi Furukawa, from JAXA, serviced equipment in the Kibo laboratory module, focusing on cooling and heat rejection gear to maintain a safe operating environment on the ISS.

What was the significance of the SpaceX Dragon spacecraft’s presence on the ISS?

The SpaceX Dragon spacecraft, docked to the Harmony module’s forward port, carried approximately 6,500 pounds of advanced science hardware for various experiments, including laser communications and atmospheric gravity waves. It is scheduled to return to Earth with completed experiments for further analysis.

What is the status of the Roscosmos Progress 84 resupply ship?

The Progress 84 resupply ship was set to conclude its mission, departing the Poisk module after six months of service. Flight Engineer Nikolai Chub played a role in packing it with trash and discarded gear for a safe disposal reentering the Earth’s atmosphere.

When is the Progress 86 resupply ship scheduled to launch and dock with the ISS?

Progress 86, packed with nearly 5,600 pounds of cargo, is scheduled to launch at 4:25 a.m. EDT on Friday and automatically dock to the Poisk module at 6:14 a.m. on Sunday, ensuring a seamless transition of vital supplies on the ISS.

What were the scientific activities undertaken by cosmonauts Oleg Kononenko and Konstantin Borisov?

Oleg Kononenko gathered atmospheric and climatic data by pointing a specialized camera towards Earth and studied the impact of spaceflight conditions on fluid systems. Konstantin Borisov serviced life support and communications gear and collected air samples for chemical analysis within the Roscosmos modules.

How do these activities contribute to space research and exploration?

These activities aboard the ISS contribute to our understanding of various scientific phenomena, ranging from ultra-cold physics to immunity in space. They also highlight the ISS’s vital role in advancing human exploration beyond Earth and the pursuit of scientific knowledge in the unique environment of space.

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1 comment

SpaceEnthusiast101 November 29, 2023 - 8:56 am

Wow, cool stuff happening up there in space, like Cold Atom Lab, and Dragon’s return. Science in zero g is so interesting!

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