Astrobiology: we found that some fungi survive in space. The cosmetic industry is interested in this experiment to create make-up with better protective properties. You never know where an industrial application will originate from.
Material sciences: looking at micro-structures in alloys.
Physics of fluids and combustion: creating more stable foams and complex fluids.
Fundamental physics: looking at constants in nature. A possible future project is optical clocks.
ESA supplies the hardware for projects but funding must come from member states.
Roundtable: Space Technology and Astroscience: ‘Long-term Space Monitoring and Exposure’
Chair: Waleed Abdalati, NASA Chief Scientist
Pascale Ehrenfreund, Reseach Professor of Space Policy and International Affairs, Space Policy Institute, Washington, DC, and Professor of Astrobiology, Leiden University, The Netherlands
Julie Robinson, ISS Programme Scientist NASA
Masaru Matsuoka, Senior Advisor, RIKEN
Gerhard Schmidtke, Senior Project Scientist, Fraunhofer Institute for Physical Measurement Techniques, Germany
Boris Zagreev, Head of Laboratory, Central Research Institute for Machine Building, TsNIIMash, Russia
Torsten Neubert, Head of Section for Solar System Physics, National Space Institute, Technical University of Denmark
Astrobiology is the study of life in the universe, seeking answers to fundamental questions on life. Understanding the fundamentals of life requires using the ISS.
NASA's MISSE-X exposes materials to space environment.
JAXA's MAXI monitors objects over the whole sky using X-rays. It acts as a early warning system to inform satellites and telescopes on the ground where to look.
MAXI highlights: 1. Capturing black hole disruptions. 2. Capturing super bursts from binary stars.
SOLAR : monitoring the energy flowing from the Sun. Data from SOLAR is providing tools for improving climate modelling. Data over a full solar cycle would be indispensable, the ISS offers a stable platform to achieve this data.
ASIM will study thunderstorms above clouds. Lightning sometimes goes up instead of hitting Earth's surface. Studying thunderstorms above clouds is not easy as the clouds hamper investigation from Earth. ASIM on ISS will study many aspects of these lightning 'jets'. The ISS is the best platform to study this as its orbit covers all local times and the most thunderstorm reason as well orbiting as close to Earth as possible. In addition the team would like to complement data with astronaut observations from the Cupola observation module.
These experiments benefit from human interaction to add observations, check the equipment and calibrate or repair if necessary. These actions are not an option on normal satellites.
Roundtable: Life sciences in space and health on Earth
Chair: Rupert Gerzer, Head of DLR Institute of Aerospace Medicine, Cologne, Germany
Chiaki Mukai, JAXA Astronaut, Vice Director for the Human Space System and Utilization Mission Directorate
Michael Barratt, Physician Astronaut and Manager NASA Human Research Programme
Peter Suedfeld, Dean Emeritus of Graduate Studies and Professor Emeritus of Psychology, University of British Columbia, Canada
Hermann Kuppe, Director, Institute of Anaesthesiology, Deutsches Herzzentrum Berlin, Germany
Boris Morukov, Physician at the State Research Centre RF-Institute for Biomedical Problems (IBMP), Russia
If you wish to examine eye functions, you need a dark room, if you wish to examine hearing loss, you need a quiet room. Studying processes involving gravity really requires a place without gravity.
Bone loss in menopausal women is 1% per year, healthy astronauts in space lose bone density at 1% per month, over ten times quicker. Studying bone loss is much quicker in astronauts than on Earth.
Stress in space is unprecedented compared to isolated environments on Earth.
In early space flight psychological problems were not an issue. Longer term missions involving larger crews create stressful situations. Peter Suedfeld is looking at beneficial stress: many astronauts return to Earth with heightened awareness.
Hermann Kuppe on applying space research on surgery: new surgery requires cooling patients to 16 degrees to protect the heart during surgery. Measuring the temperature of these patients is done with a temperature sensor developed for the ISS.
Question and Answer session
Q: What do you see as challenges in terms of using ISS for education?
Q: Medical ethics question: should we send young people to Mars or older people who have already experienced life?
IBMP: Probably older people will be better adapted to a mission to Mars.
Stress in space for life on Earth
Alexander Choukèr, Senior Physician and Associate Professor at the Department of Anaesthesiology, Lecturer at the Ludwig Maximalians University, Munich
Astronaut's bodies take a lot of stress in space, from cardiovascular to regulation of their body temperature.
What is the cause of this stress and how can we avoid this?
Research is conducted on the ISS but ground-based facilities form an important part of studies.
Studying space flight has led to understanding obesity.
An astronaut study of salt intake on Mir led to findings that salt intake has a direct relation to blood pressure
Salt intake also influences bone loss. By cutting down on salt, less bone is lost in astronauts. The benefits for people on Earth apply to sufferers of osteoporosis.
Microbes in space become more active, uniquely these organisms seem to benefit from microgravity.
Studying microbe activity in space led to better vaccines.
When stress goes up, our immune system weakens. The source of this stress is from the brain; studies now are looking at how our brains influence the immune system when under stress.
Another stress factor is radiation. The Matroshka module on the ISS is analysing radiation received in space. This research allows us to target hard-to-reach brain tumours without damaging the brain itself.
The role of space for human life sciences: offering studies of humans under stress showing rapid onset of health problems beneficial for study.
Roundtable: physical research in space and on ground
Editor’s note: These brief extracts are paraphrased from the live webcast and may not be fully correct.
Chair: Mike Cruise, ESA-PSWG Chair
Hans Fecht, Chaired Professor and Director, Institute of Micro and Nanomaterials, Ulm University
David John Jarvis, Head of New Materials & Energy Research, ESA
Cécile Gehin-Delval, Research Scientist Nestlé Research Centre
Koichi Nishino, Professor at the Departement of Mechanical Engineering, Yokohama National University
Mark Uhran, ISS Programme Director, NASA
John Banhart, Professor at the Technical University, Berlin, Germany
Nestlé, known for coffee and chocolate bars is using ISS research to... improve their products. Foams can be found on coffee, in chocolate mousse and in pet foods for example. Gravity on Earth causes foams to degrade. Understanding foam stability through research on ISS will improve the shelf life of your chocolate mousse.
NASA's Mark Uhran shows how material research is evolving. The past 25 years was spent surveying new materials. 15 years ago research was done on the Space Station on how metal alloys are formed. Two years ago this research resulted in a new alloy that is twice as strong. By the end of this year a new iPhone will use this technology on the mass market.
Metal foams, though not as tasty as chocolate foams, offer many benefits. Metal foams are much harder and lighter. Typical uses are in lightweight cranes or absorbing energy in car crashes. All foams are unstable so making metal foams is not an easy process. Gravity and temperature differences cause foam bubbles to burst. Research on the ISS has already allowed foams to be created on Earth using pressure instead of chemical agents leading to more pure final materials.
The 'Satnav problem' is presented: as soon as space-based technologies become available to users, we forget that they came from space, how do we overcome this?
Mark Uhran: We can work far more quickly to test new technologies on the ISS. We should use these opportunities to develop new products.
Mike Cruise's leaving words : "If you think knowledge is expensive, try living in ignorance for a while."
Plasma research in space and applications on Earth
Editor’s note:These brief extracts are paraphrased from live webcast and may not be fully correct.
Presentation by G. Morfill, Director of the Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics
What is plasma? Basically it is the hot part of our Universe, the Sun is an example of plasma. To study plasma we need to bring it to room temperature. A technological challenge is overcoming the problem that as plasma cools, it disappears. The solution is to study complex plasmas.
A key experiment is looking at turbulence on an individual particle level.
Little was known about plasma physics in microgravity. Most importantly we will be able to use electrical fields to design the interaction between micro-particles on the atomic scale.
Research is continuing on newer experiments such as PK-4 in 2014 and Plasmalab in 2018.
Applications on Earth
Bacteria are becoming more resistant to antibiotics such as the infamous MRSA. Drug companies on the other hand are releasing fewer new antibiotics each year. Thousands of people die due to bacterial infections picked up in hospitals every year. The solution is better hygiene.
Plasma is supplying hygiene at the touch of a button, no residues, no waste. We are developing technology designed to work with our immune systems fighting burn wounds, bacteria, viral and fungal infections.
Plasma technology can also protect plant seeds from infections. Plasma irradiation even makes plants grow faster.
All Resistant bacteria are killed after only 30 seconds of plasma irradiation.
Treating chronic wounds is also possible. Multiple applications of plasma reduce germ infection resulting in faster healing by 10-15%. Experts could not tell the difference in skin tissure treated by plasma and traditional methods after full healing.
Plasma therapy shows benefits for treating genetic disorders such as Hailey-Hailey.
Household appliances for everyday use, from space to your homes.
Editor’s note:These brief extracts are paraphrased from live webcast and may not be fully correct.
A mesmerising video on AMS-02 production, 16 years shown in 3 minutes:
What is AMS? "The Space Station crown jewel" consists of several instruments assembled at CERN in Geneva and tested at ESTEC in Noordwijk, Netherlands.
Our view of the Universe is only made possible through space research. Four questions remain. If we can answer these questions we will have a complete picture of the universe.
But what does this have to do with Earth's real problems such as creating energy from the Sun? Solar cells rely on semiconductors that rely on Max Plank’s discoveries of fundamental physics
Sustainable development is based on research on fundamental physic research. 90% of the Universe is made out of matter we cannot see and know nothing about, so called ‘dark matter’. What will we able to do if we know more about this matter? Prof. Schael has no idea but is sure that something good will come out of it, just as Max Plank could not forsee his discoveries leading to the internet.
AMS has a magnet, so strong NASA scientists were unable to test its breaking point, they gave up before it broke down. AMS has many instruments to measure mass, electric charge and polarity of particles. Due to the redundancy of the instruments AMS can self-calibrate by cross-checking results between different instruments.
Measurements are extremely precise, for example one instrument can measure down to a tenth of the diameter of a human hair.
AMS-02's future was uncertain at 2005 but after strong international support agreement was reached to send it to the Space Station after all.
The final AMS-02 was tested and calibrated at CERN using particles of which the characteristics were known. AMS-02 passed the test and was shipped to the Launchpad of STS-134 on Shuttle Endeavour. The launch date was May 16 2011
Four hours after installation AMS was already delivering data.
“AMS is working perfectly, just as we designed it over 15 years ago”. Every year we will collect 16 billion cosmic arrays providing unprecedented data.
AMS has recorded events such as a recent solar flare influencing helium particles. This data allows us to predict the amount of radiation that astronauts will absorb on a mission to Mars.
AMS has to cope with changes in temperature and ISS cargo ships approaching and docking.
AMS-02 is searching for local sources of high energy protons. Its most exciting objective is to probe the unkown.
Some people call AMS the Hubble space telescope of charged particles. Five missions were sent to upgrade Hubble, we could already think of how to upgrade AMS-02.