3D Printing and Biology Researches from the ISS Back on Earth via SpaceX's Dragon Spacecraft
As you're surely aware, astronauts aboard the International Space Station (ISS) don't sit around idly. A number of science experiments run at the same time, handled by the expert hands of the astronauts high up in Space.
Many of these said experiments were brought back down to Earth on Tuesday, April 7, hitching a ride on SpaceX's Dragon as part of its 20th cargo resupply mission to the ISS.
Some of the investigations brought back to Earth will now be further analyzed and their results will be reported soon.
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As NASA and other space agencies push forward with plans of longer spaceflight duration for their astronauts, they must also be able to ensure that their dedicated teams up in Space will be able to survive healthily both mentally and physically. Thus the importance of carrying out numerous science projects up in the ISS.
Furthermore, other experiments push forward human biology projects and how we can improve the medical industry by trialing methods out in Space.
Some of the investigations that astronauts have been carrying out onboard the ISS include being able to generate a meal that has enough nutritional value. The team needs to plan for methods to supply food during multi-year missions to the Moon and Mars, which would require growing fresh food. This is done in conjunction with BioNutrients, which is a technology that's able to produce nutrients on-demand.
Another experiment involves biologically 3D printed tiny versions of complex structures found in human organs, such as capillaries — something that is difficult to carry out in Earth's gravity. This is done in the BioFabrication Facility (BFF) on the ISS.
The Engineered Heart Tissue study focuses on how the human heart tissues function in Space by using unique 3D tissues made from heart cells.
The Space BioFilms experiment looks at microbial species and their formation on biofilms. These are collections of one or more microorganisms that grow and live on wet surfaces. If this happens on the ISS it can lead to technology malfunctions and human illnesses.
The Ring Sheared Drop investigation examines how the formation of amyloid fibrils in liquids are held together by surface tension instead of by a container. Results from this experiment could help us better understand neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's disease.
As you'll have noted, the astronauts have been kept busy, and these are just a few of the many investigations that have been carried out on the ISS. Now, it's time for the scientists down on Earth to get busy analyzing these studies.
Dr. Shah explained how he and his team made significant advances in translational cell therapy, successfully developing cellular treatments for cancer.