NASA Announces Which Experiments Will Be On Upcoming SpaceX Dragon Flight

NASA Announces Which Experiments Will Be On Upcoming SpaceX Dragon Flight

"The life sciences experiments on the next SpaceX Dragon flight to the International Space Station include examining wound healing and bone marrow, NASA said March 19 in a telephone press conference. Dragon will launch no earlier than April 2 from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

The wound-healing experiment might help not just astronauts on long-term missions, but also members of the military on Earth. Tympanogen, Inc. is developing an antibiotic gel, which will be tested aboard the space station. Principal investigator Elaine Horn-Ranney, the company's co-founder and CEO, said a key challenge for soldiers is applying the gel sufficiently. If the antibiotics aren't applied properly, soldiers can develop conditions such as sepsis.

Previous work on the space station suggests that crystals grow in more regular patterns there than they do on Earth. It's unclear if gels behave the same way, so Tympanogen will focus on the material properties of the gel. It will examine how the gel is structured, and how the gel releases antibiotics into a water solution...

Dragon will also carry equipment for an ongoing life sciences experiment called Marrow. The investigators are interested in whether bone marrow in space has increased fat content. On Earth, researchers saw more fat during bed-rest studies that are intended to simulate microgravity effects, as well as in animals. They hypothesize that as fat content increases in the bone marrow, this displaces the room left for blood cell production inside the marrow, which in turn may weaken bones....

The life sciences payloads represent just a fraction of the more than 5,800 pounds of research supplies and hardware that will be sent to the space station. Several other experiments that will launch on Dragon. They include:

The Atmosphere-Space Interactions Monitor will examine how severe thunderstorms affect the atmosphere and climate of Earth....

Two high-school student experiments will fly as part of the third round of the Boeing/miniPCR Genes in Space program. The selectees were announced in July 2017. An experiment developed by Sophia Chen from Lakeside School, Washington will measure cancer-inducing genomic instability in astronauts. And a study by Elizabeth Reizis from Stuyvesant High School, New York will investigate  how microgravity affects the differentiation of immune system cells..."

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