SpaceX Dragon Hauls NASA Holiday Gifts And A Treasure Trove Of Experiments To The ISS
One of the science experiments that arrived this morning may seem like it was ripped right out of a science fiction movie. The Bioprint FirstAid Handheld Bioprinter (Bioprint FirstAid) is a portable, handheld bioprinter that uses a patient's own skin cells to create a tissue-forming patch that will cover a wound and vastly improve and accelerate the healing process. The German Aerospace Center is responsible for this bioprinting experiment that utilizes viable cells and biological molecules to print tissue structures. While a means of overcoming unique incidents that may occur during space travel, this type of technology has enormous potential back on Earth as well. It holds the possibility to provide safer and more flexible treatment whether in space or on Earth.
Astronauts aboard the ISS currently wear items of clothing several times, and then replace them with new clothes that are delivered on resupply missions. One of the experiments that arrived today will look to change that and free up some of the valuable cargo space on resupply spacecraft. Procter & Gamble has teamed up with NASA to develop Tide Infinity, a fully degradable detergent that specifically targets stains in space. The experiment will explore the performance of its stain removal ingredients and its stability in microgravity. This could prove vital for future long-duration space flights where resupply will be limited greatly, and the crews will have to wear the same outfits they leave Earth with for extended periods of time. The ability to wash those outfits while traveling through space will certainly be welcomed by all the astronauts who will be forced to be in close perimeter to one another during a long space journey.
A few other science experiments arrived this morning as well. One includes a study that will assess space-induced changes in immune status by culturing cells collected from crew members before, during, and after spaceflight. Another will monitor the development of the shoots and roots of plants in microgravity. An experiment that will test a commercial manufacturing device that processes heat-resistant alloy parts in microgravity was also aboard the Dragon resupply spacecraft.
As NASA and other space agencies work toward extended spaceflights that will take humankind farther into space, experiments like these are most assuredly crucial to the success of those future missions. The first Artemis mission will be the precursor to all of those missions and we here on Earth are ready to see how far we can actually go into the great beyond.