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Biotech Research on Station: Exploring DNA and Organ Printing in Space

Four main components on the Roscosmos segment of the International Space Station are pictured as the orbital outpost soared 265 miles above a cloudy Pacific Ocean. From top to bottom, are the Nauka multipurpose laboratory module, the European robotic arm attached to Nauka, the Prichal docking module, and the Soyuz MS-23 crew ship. Credit: NASA

The Expedition 69 crew aboard the International Space StationThe International Space Station (ISS) is a large spacecraft in orbit around the Earth that serves as a research laboratory and spaceport for international collaboration in space exploration. It was launched in 1998 and has been continuously occupied by rotating crews of astronauts and cosmonauts from around the world since 2000. The ISS is a joint project of five space agencies: NASA (USA), Roscosmos (Russia), JAXA (Japan), ESA (Europe), and CSA (Canada). It orbits the Earth at an altitude of approximately 400 kilometers (250 miles), and provides a unique platform for scientific research, technological development, and human space exploration.” data-gt-translate-attributes=”[{“attribute”:”data-cmtooltip”, “format”:”html”}]”>International Space Station (ISS) focused its main research activities on biotechnology on Wednesday. The orbital residents also continued the ongoing maintenance of lab hardware.

Research on the Space Station

Researchers on the ground use the facilities aboard the space station to understand how living in weightlessness affects the human body. Some of the experiments operate remotely or autonomously, for others the astronauts set up and run the experiments, or even act as subjects as NASAEstablished in 1958, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) is an independent agency of the United States Federal Government that succeeded the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA). It is responsible for the civilian space program, as well as aeronautics and aerospace research. Its vision is "To discover and expand knowledge for the benefit of humanity." Its core values are "safety, integrity, teamwork, excellence, and inclusion." NASA conducts research, develops technology and launches missions to explore and study Earth, the solar system, and the universe beyond. It also works to advance the state of knowledge in a wide range of scientific fields, including Earth and space science, planetary science, astrophysics, and heliophysics, and it collaborates with private companies and international partners to achieve its goals.” data-gt-translate-attributes=”[{“attribute”:”data-cmtooltip”, “format”:”html”}]”>NASA and its international partners learn how to sustain crews on future missions to the Moon, MarsMars is the second smallest planet in our solar system and the fourth planet from the sun. It is a dusty, cold, desert world with a very thin atmosphere. Iron oxide is prevalent in Mars' surface resulting in its reddish color and its nickname "The Red Planet." Mars' name comes from the Roman god of war.” data-gt-translate-attributes=”[{“attribute”:”data-cmtooltip”, “format”:”html”}]”>Mars, and beyond.

DNA Analysis and BioFabrication Facility Maintenance

NASA Flight Engineer Jasmin Moghbeli started her day conducting DNADNA, or deoxyribonucleic acid, is a molecule composed of two long strands of nucleotides that coil around each other to form a double helix. It is the hereditary material in humans and almost all other organisms that carries genetic instructions for development, functioning, growth, and reproduction. Nearly every cell in a person’s body has the same DNA. Most DNA is located in the cell nucleus (where it is called nuclear DNA), but a small amount of DNA can also be found in the mitochondria (where it is called mitochondrial DNA or mtDNA).” data-gt-translate-attributes=”[{“attribute”:”data-cmtooltip”, “format”:”html”}]”>DNA research by analyzing microbe samples collected from the orbital outpost’s potable water dispenser. She used a small commercial DNA sequencing device to identify the samples for the BioMole technology demonstration. BioMole may improve environmental monitoring systems on the station and future spacecraft traveling farther away from Earth.

JAXA Astronaut Satoshi Furukawa Removes Experiment Hardware

Expedition 69 Flight Engineer and JAXA (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency) astronaut Satoshi Furukawa removes experiment hardware from inside the Multi-use Variable-g Platform, a biology research device that can generate artificial gravity inside the International Space Station’s Kibo laboratory module. Credit: NASA

Moghbeli then assisted JAXAFormed in 2003, the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) was born through the merger of three institutions, namely the Institute of Space and Astronautical Science (ISAS), the National Aerospace Laboratory of Japan (NAL) and the National Space Development Agency of Japan (NASDA). JAXA performs various activities related to aerospace, from basic research in the aerospace field to development and utilization and is responsible for research, technology development, and launch of satellites into orbit, and is involved in advanced missions such as asteroid exploration and possible human exploration of the Moon.” data-gt-translate-attributes=”[{“attribute”:”data-cmtooltip”, “format”:”html”}]”>JAXA (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency) astronaut Satoshi Furukawa as he replaced components on the BioFabrication Facility (BFF). The 3D biological printer is testing the printing of organ-like tissues in microgravity with an eye to manufacturing whole human organs in space in the future.

Human Research and Cold Atom Lab Experiments

Flight Engineer Andreas Mogensen of ESA (European Space AgencyThe European Space Agency (ESA) is an intergovernmental organization dedicated to the exploration and study of space. ESA was established in 1975 and has 22 member states, with its headquarters located in Paris, France. ESA is responsible for the development and coordination of Europe's space activities, including the design, construction, and launch of spacecraft and satellites for scientific research and Earth observation. Some of ESA's flagship missions have included the Rosetta mission to study a comet, the Gaia mission to create a 3D map of the Milky Way, and the ExoMars mission to search for evidence of past or present life on Mars.” data-gt-translate-attributes=”[{“attribute”:”data-cmtooltip”, “format”:”html”}]”>European Space Agency) continued his human research duties that he began on Tuesday. The two-time station visitor serviced blood samples that had been placed overnight in the Kubik research incubator and then stowed the specimens in a science freezer for later analysis. Mogensen is helping doctors learn how microgravity affects cellular immune functions and to monitor the human immune system in space.

NASA Flight Engineer Frank Rubio continued his space physics activities for a second day as he replaced experiment gear inside the Cold Atom Lab. The research device chills atoms to near absolute zeroAbsolute zero is the theoretical lowest temperature on the thermodynamic temperature scale. At this temperature, all atoms of an object are at rest and the object does not emit or absorb energy. The internationally agreed-upon value for this temperature is −273.15 °C (−459.67 °F; 0.00 K).” data-gt-translate-attributes=”[{“attribute”:”data-cmtooltip”, “format”:”html”}]”>absolute zero creating almost no motion allowing scientists to study fundamental behaviors and quantum characteristics.

Maintenance and Training Activities by the Cosmonauts

The station’s three cosmonauts turned their attention on Wednesday to the upkeep of hardware in the RoscosmosRoscosmos, also known as the Roscosmos State Corporation for Space Activities, is the Russian government agency responsible for space activities, including the development and operation of spacecraft, launch vehicles, and space stations. It was formed in 2015 through the merger of the Federal Space Agency (Roscosmos) and the United Rocket and Space Corporation. Roscosmos is responsible for Russia's space program and works closely with other international space agencies on joint projects, such as the International Space Station. The agency is also involved in a wide range of space-related activities, including scientific research, earth observation, telecommunications, and manned spaceflight.” data-gt-translate-attributes=”[{“attribute”:”data-cmtooltip”, “format”:”html”}]”>Roscosmos segment of the orbital lab. Commander Sergey Prokopyev and Flight Engineer Dmitri Petelin spent the day replacing pumps and installing batteries on an Orlan spacesuit. Flight Engineer Konstantin Borisov videotaped himself becoming familiar with and exercising on the advanced resistive exercise device before checking out a laptop computer in the Nauka science module.

Source: SciTechDaily