Scientific Investigations & Technology

Scientific Investigations & Technology

  • APCF- (Advanced Protein Crystallization Facility) 
    Specialized microgravity facility that offered researchers several different crystal growth options in a controlled environment that enabled undisturbed nucleation (beginning of chemical changes at discrete points in a system) and growth of proteins to obtain large crystals for analysis on Earth. Understanding the results obtained from the crystals will lead to advances in manufacturing and biological processes.  The APCF hardware contained 8 separate protein crystal investigations; these included APCF-Camelids, APCF-Crystal Quality, APCF-Crystal Growth, APCF-Lipoprotein, APCF-Lysozyme, APCF-Octarellins, APCF-PPG10 and APCF-Rhodopsin.
  • ADVASC (Advanced AstrocultureTM)
    Understanding the effects of gravity on plant life is essential in preparation for future interplanetary exploration. The ability to produce high energy, low mass food sources during space flight will enable the maintenance of crew health during long duration missions while having a reduced impact on resources necessary for long distance travel. Additional applications of a plant growth chamber include using plants as components of regenerative life support systems for travel to the Moon and Mars.
  • ALTEA (Anomalous Long Term Effects in Astronauts' Central Nervous System)
    The Anomalous Long Term Effects in Astronauts' Central Nervous System (ALTEA) integrates several diagnostic technologies to measure the effect of the exposure of crew members to cosmic radiation. It will improve the understanding of the impacts that radiation has on the human central nervous system functions, and will study the flashes from cosmic radiation that astronauts have reported since the Apollo flights. ALTEA will also provide an assessment of the radiation environment in the ISS.
  • ANITA (Analyzing Interferometer for Ambient Air) 
    To Analyzing Interferometer for Ambient Air (ANITA) will monitor 32 potential gaseous contaminants, including formaldehyde, ammonia and carbon monoxide, in the atmosphere on board the station. The experiment will test the accuracy and reliability of this technology as a potential next-generation atmosphere trace-gas monitoring system for the station.
  • CBOSS - (Cellular Biotechnology Operations Support Systems) 
    The purpose of the Cellular Biotechnology Operations Support System (CBOSS) study was to support biotechnological research on board ISS by providing a stable environment in which to grow cells. The system was a multi-component cell incubator intended to grow three-dimensional clusters of cells in microgravity. A self-contained apparatus, CBOSS was designed to allow multiple experiments to be performed, thereby enabling scientists to study various types of cells operating simultaneously.  The above link provides detailed information about the many investigation performed on the International Space Station.
     
  • CGBA - (Commercial Generic Bioprocessing Apparatus)
    The Commercial Generic Bioprocessing Apparatus (CGBA) provides automated processing for biological experiments. The CGBA hardware includes the isothermal containment module (ICM v.3) The ICM v.3 contains the Multiple Orbital Bio reactor with Instrumentation and Automated Sampling (MOBIAS), a fermentation, cell culture, and tissue engineering apparatus.  Multiple variations of the CGBA have been flown to the Space Station, five (5) to-date, specifically equipped and instrumented to support the needs of the diverse investigations that have been conducted.  Descriptions of these investigations are found through the link above under CGBA and CSI-0x.
     
  • CPCG-H (Commercial Protein Crystal Growth - High Density)
    The Commercial Protein Crystal Growth - High Density (CPCG-H) is protein crystal growth experiment flight hardware. During ISS Expeditions 2 and 4, CPCG-H was outfitted with High-Density Protein Crystal Growth (HDPCG) hardware. HDPCG was a vapor-diffusion facility that could process as many as 1008 individual protein samples. The entire HDPCG assembly had four independent trays that held 252 individual protein crystal growth experiments on each. The chambers had a protein reservoir, a precipitant reservoir, and an optically-clear access cap. The chambers were designed to reduce sedimentation problems and to produce highly uniform, single crystals. The trays can be removed and transferred to an awaiting camera system, Commercial Protein Crystal Growth - Video (CPCG-V), for observation while on the International Space Station (ISS). The individual experiments are grouped in sets of six and can be harvested one at a time.
  • DAFT (Dust and Aerosol Measurement Feasibility Test)
    DAFT is designed to test the effectiveness of a device that counts ultra-fine dust particles in a microgravity environment, a precursor to the next generation of fire detection equipment for exploration vehicles. This investigation is a risk mitigation activity on the development path for the next generation of spacecraft fire detection hardware.
  • DCPCG (Dynamically Controlled Protein Crystal Growth)
    The goal of the DCPCG experiment was to control and improve the crystallization process by dynamically controlling the elements that influence crystal growth. Current growth methods provide little or no control over growth rate and separation of the nucleation and growth phases. The DCPCG system provided researchers real-time control of the diffusion process (supersaturation) through control of the protein concentration. It also determined the differences in vapor diffusion rates (the speed at which the liquid surrounding a protein solution evaporates, leaving behind a protein crystal) between experiments conducted in microgravity and similar experiments conducted on Earth. DCPCG quantified the basic differences between crystal growth on Earth and in space: differences in growth rate, the way crystals moved and organized in the two environments, and allowed researchers to assess in detail the best systems for growing high-quality crystals and how to optimize those systems.
  • ELITE-S2 (ELaboratore Immagini TElevisive - Space 2) 
    ELaboratore Immagini Televisive - Space 2 (ELITE-S2) will investigate the connection between brain, visualization and motion in the absence of gravity. By recording and analyzing the three-dimensional motion of astronauts, this study will help engineers apply ergonomics into future spacecraft designs and determine the effects of weightlessness on breathing mechanisms for long-duration missions. Results might also be applied to neurological patients on the ground with impaired motor control. This experiment is a cooperative effort with the Italian Space Agency, ASI.
     
  • ENose (JPL Electronic Nose)
    The JPL Electronic Nose (ENose) is a full-time, continuously operating event monitor designed to detect air contamination from spills and leaks in the crew habitat in the International Space Station. It fills the long-standing gap between onboard alarms and complex analytical instruments. ENose provides rapid, early identification and quantification of atmospheric changes caused by chemical species to which it has been trained. ENose can also be used to monitor cleanup processes after a leak or a spill.
     
  • EPO (Education Payload Operations) 
    Education Payload Operations (EPO) includes curriculum-based educational activities that will demonstrate basic principles of science, mathematics, technology, engineering and geography. These activities are videotaped and then used in classroom lectures. EPO is designed to support the NASA mission to inspire the next generation of explorers.  Activities have included: EPO-Demos (Education Payload Operation - Demonstrations)EPO-Educator (Education Payload Operations-Educator),  and EPO-Kit_C (Education Payload Operations - Kit C: Plant Growth Chambers).
     
  • EMCS (European Modular Cultivation System) 
    The EMCS is an ESA gravitational biology payload launched in July 2006, and installed inside an Express rack within the US "Destiny" laboratory module. The scientific utilization of the EMCS is carried out in co-operation with the NASA Ames Research Center. EMCS is developed under ESA contract by an industrial team led by the company ASTRIUM (Friedrichshafen, Germany). 
     
  • EMCH (Elastic Memory Composite Hinge). 
    Elastic Memory Composite Hinge (EMCH) will study the performance of a new type of composite hinge to determine its suitability for use in space. The experiment uses elastic memory hinges to move an attached mass at one end. Materials tested in this experiment are stronger and lighter than current materials used in space hinges and could be used in the design of future spacecraft.
  • EXPPCS (EXPRESS Physics of Colloids in Space)
    Studied the kinetics of colloidal (fine particles suspended in a fluid) crystal formation and growth. These experiments may provide the critical information necessary to use colloidal precursors to fabricate novel materials in the new field of colloidal engineering. Industries using semiconductors, electro-optics, ceramics and composites may benefit.
  • PGBA (Plant Generic Bioprocessing Apparatus) 
    Plant Generic Bioprocessing Apparatus (PGBA) monitored and maintained light, temperature, humidity and oxygen levels to study lignin production changes in Arabidopsis thaliana (a fast growing plant) grown in microgravity on the International Space Station (ISS).  PGBA is capable of maintaining the light, temperature, humidity and oxygen levels for a wide variety of plants. Several different types of plants have been grown inside PGBA, including wheat, tomatoes, loblolly pine, spinach, periwinkle, white clover, pepper, sage, and purple cone flower.
  • SAMS-II (Space Acceleration Measurement System-II)
    Space Acceleration Measurement System (SAMS-II) is an ongoing study of the small forces (vibrations and accelerations) on the ISS that result from the operation of hardware, crew activities, as well as docking's and maneuvering. Results will be used to generalize the types of vibrations affecting vibration-sensitive experiments. Investigators seek to better understand the vibration environment on the space station to enable future research.
  • SNFM (Serial Network Flow Monitor)
    Using a commercial software CD and minimal up-mass, SNFM monitors the Payload local area network (LAN) to analyze and troubleshoot LAN data traffic. Validating LAN traffic models may allow for faster and more reliable computer networks to sustain systems and science on future space missions.
     
  • SpaceDRUMS (Space-Dynamically Responding Ultrasonic Matrix System). 
    Space-Dynamically Responding Ultrasonic Matrix System (SpaceDRUMS) comprises a suite of hardware that enables containerless processing (samples of experimental materials can be processed without ever touching a container wall). Using a collection of 20 acoustic beam emitters, SpaceDRUMS can completely suspend a baseball-sized solid or liquid sample during combustion or heat-based synthesis. Because the samples never contact the container walls, materials can be produced in microgravity with an unparalleled quality of shape and composition. The ultimate goal of the SpaceDRUMS hardware is to assist with the development of advanced materials of a commercial quantity and quality, using the space-based experiments to guide development of manufacturing processes on Earth.
  • Tropi (Analysis of a Novel Sensory Mechanism in Root Phototropism)
    Arabidopsis thaliana (thale cress) plants sprouted from seeds will be video taped and mature plants will be harvested. Later, the mature plants will be analyzed at the molecular level to determine what genes are responsible for successful plant growth in microgravity. Insights gained from Tropi can lead to sustainable agriculture for future long duration space missions.
  • Yeast-GAP (Yeast-Group Activation Packs)
    Yeast-GAP studies the effects of genetic changes of yeast cells exposed to the space environment. The results will help scientists to understand how cells respond to radiation and microgravity, will impact the determination of health remedies and will increase the basic understanding of cell biology.
  • ZCG (Zeolite Crystal Growth) 
    The ZCG investigations examined how subtle changes in the chemical formulation affected nucleation and growth of zeolite crystals. The microgravity environment allowed researchers to grow higher-quality crystals. These crystals have a number of useful commercial applications as catalysts and absorbents.