The International Space Station has been flying for more than 20 years in Earth’s space at a speed of 27,000 kilometers per hour at an altitude of 400 kilometers. In addition to being a platform for observing the climate and Earth from space, it contains an advanced space laboratory that conducts the latest scientific research.
For the past two decades, the station has been the ideal – and only – place for scientific experiments that cannot be conducted on Earth due to gravity. Read also The first is an Arab one … a Jordanian scientist studies the behavior of bacterial samples in space From the International Space Station, Icarus tracks and saves wild animals Not the first time … the source of an air leak has been identified on the International Space Station Will the International Space Station collide with Earth … when, how and where?
And the astronauts on the International Space Station to conduct these tests and experiments in almost zero gravity as part of joint efforts between different space agencies in the United States, Canada, Russia, Japan, the European Union, and other countries of the world.
Research in the service of mankind
The purpose of these experiments and research is not limited to preparing humanity for life in the harsh space environment, but rather has a major role in scientific discoveries to improve human life on Earth, as these experiments serve the areas of developing and operating new technologies, educational activities, biology, biotechnology, earth and space sciences, and human research. , New drug innovation, and physics.
The results of the research on the station are used to propose new scientific ideas and come up with new findings and assumptions for testing in long-term space missions and on the ground.
Scientific data from the station’s experiments are examined, revised, and published in numerous accredited periodicals, conference proceedings, technical papers, books, patents, or even educational films and software.
The US Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) issued its annual report for 2020 on the results of scientific research and tests carried out by the International Space Station, and the report monitored more than 312 studies on the results of these research and experiments that were published in scientific journals during the period from October / October 2019 through October 2020.
Several parties have jointly prepared the report, including the Canadian Space Agency (CSA), the European Space Agency (ESA) and the Japan Space Exploration Agency (JAXA) as well as the US Aerospace and Space Administration (NASA) and the Russian Space Agency (ROSCOSMOS), as well as the Italian Space Agency. (ISA).
Biology and Biotechnology
The International Space Station Laboratory provides a platform for biological experiments that explore the complex response of living organisms in conditions of near zero gravity.
The station is equipped with devices and equipment to study the exploration of biological systems, from microorganisms and biological properties of cells to the integrated functions of multicellular plants and animals. These are some of the experiments the station is carrying out in the field of biology and biotechnology:
The effect of zero gravity on plant growth
At the Columbus Science Laboratory, its largest contribution to the International Space Station, the European Space Agency has experimented with the effect of gravity and light on the growth of plants that generate oxygen and may be a source of food for the crew.
Scientists believe that gravity is the main factor, followed by light in determining the direction of growth of plant roots and roots. The experiment used seedlings of the “Arabidopsis thaliana” plant, which is considered a “plant test mouse” due to its short life cycle and small genetic component.
The seedlings were exposed to varying levels of gravity, starting from the gravitational pull of the Earth, the Moon, and Mars, and the near zero gravity on the station, and then were exposed to white light for 96 hours and blue light for 48 hours before being frozen for analysis on Earth.
Where the RNA extracted from seedlings was analyzed and its genetic sequences studied to determine which genes had changed their genetic expression, in order to guide the paths of current and future uses of plant culture techniques in space.
The effect of zero gravity on pathogenic proteins
The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency has studied the effect of near-zero gravity on the formation of filaments or amyloid protein fibrils that cause neurodegenerative diseases in order to develop new therapies that inhibit the formation of these capillaries for the treatment and prevention of diseases such as Parkinson’s (Parkinson’s) and Alzheimer’s disease.
Enhancing the effectiveness of some diseases treatment drugs
NASA sponsored some pharmaceutical companies to study the evaluation of the effect of “Myostatin protein” drugs, which are responsible for muscle mass, to treat muscle and bone weakness and weakness in mice that have been exposed for a long period of space travel, and then treat diseases such as muscular dystrophy, osteoporosis, and muscle weakness. Structural with age.
Research has proven that “myostatin suppression” is an effective way to prevent muscle degradation caused by prolonged life in space.
Research on human health
The International Space Station research studies the dangers of space exploration to human health, such as the relationship between environments of near zero gravity, radiation and other aspects of life in space such as nutrition, sleep and social relationships, with the aim of developing and testing measures that reduce the harms of life in space to the health of astronauts.
The results of these research and studies are essential to enable human space missions to the lunar surface and the exploration of Mars. Among these studies:
All astronauts experience anemia (destruction of red blood cells) after returning to Earth. This has been observed since the first human mission into space, but the cause was unknown.
By studying the data that accumulated over 5 decades, one study discovered that space anemia occurs after descent after the completion of the first reverse shift of fluid inside the body, due to changes in air pressure and gravity, and that the longer the stay in space, the more severe the anemia after returning to Earth, and that recovery From space anemia it takes from 1 to 3 months.
Muscle atrophy during space travel
Many astronauts experience a loss of the ability to stand upright soon after returning to Earth.
A recent study examined blood flow in the blood vessels near the surface of the skin in astronauts before and after travel, using a laser counter based on near infrared light.
The study found poor blood flow in the lower extremities due to the long stay in space, which means that astronauts must undergo an intense rehabilitation program of regular physical and sports exercises to improve blood flow in the feet and restore muscle mass.
Gravity has a major influence on our understanding of physics and the creation of basic mathematical models that monitor the behavior of matter.
The space station is the only laboratory that enables scientists to study the long-term physical effects in the absence of gravity without the complexities of the processes associated with gravity such as convection and sedimentation, which provides the opportunity for the emergence of different physical characteristics, which scientists try to study to develop physical sciences and how to control the behavior of materials to serve the purposes. Different.
Physical properties of industrial alloys
Studies conducted by the European Space Agency dealt with measuring the thermophysical properties of industrial alloys under zero gravity, using the Electro-Magnetic Levitator to improve the hardening processes.
The study specifically documents the results obtained for 3 high-temperature commercial alloys (nickel-based superalloys) that are widely used in turbines and other power applications.
Among these results are data of high-resolution thermophysical properties (liquid surface tension, viscosity, mass density, specific heat capacity) that cannot be obtained on Earth, and are essential to enhance manufacturing efficiency and product quality.
Study of super cold cases
NASA, through the Cold Atom Lab, is studying supercool states of matter by creating a quantum gas known as a “Bose-Einstein condenser” in a bubble-like structure to answer questions about quantum mechanics. This opportunity reinforces the space station’s role as a research facility in the field of ultra-cold atomic physics.
A recent study examined the cooling and confinement of atomic gases to form a “Bose – Einstein” condenser, which made it possible to study quantum behavior on a microscopic scale for long periods in almost zero gravity.
Scientists studied the fifth state of matter in the state of zero gravity for the first time, which allowed an unprecedented understanding of Einstein’s theory of relativity. Understanding quantum gas bubbles also contributes to the advancement of the next generation of sensors and quantum simulation, which is leading to the development of quantum computers