Today, we finished our module that will be sent to the International Space Station in April! We shipped it to Valley Christian School in San Jose to let them handle the logistics for the launch. Everybody on the team signed their names on the module to send into space. We hope you enjoy the pictures we have posted in honor of our achievement!
STEAM MAKER FESTIVAL
This past weekend was a fun, but hectic week! We showcased a lot of our project and ideas with this fun yet simple game, and many enjoyed it. Take a look with the attached pictures!
We will be at the STEAM Maker Festival this Saturday, December 3rd at the Del Mar Fairgrounds! In preparation, we made a space themed photobooth to showcase our excitement for space!
A slower day for the software team, but I was able to test the hardware using code I had written the week before. The code tested the different colored LEDs as well as the water pump to make sure they were working. They all worked, thankfully. There was some trouble with the ALL OFF command in regards to the blue LED1. We also found that one of the blue LEDs couldn’t be on at the same time as the white LED. We fixed the ALL OFF command, however we are leaving the issue with the two LEDs the same as they don’t have any affect on the actual experiment. I’m excited to see what we are able to work on and complete next week. By the looks of it, this year’s phototropism experiment should work this time!
Catch you later,
In the development of the chromatography experiment, we have finally reached the stage of building a prototype … virtually. Up to now, we have developed a solid experiment, involving the observation of lysine, with various chemical markers, to hope to see there is a difference in movement of these molecules in a chromatographic setup in microgravity. If a discrepancy of the movement of the amino acid appeared between Earth and space, it may suggest altered molecular behaviors of lysine, a major component of histones in DNA strands, in space have a role in the strange gene expression patterns noted on the space station.
Theoretically, the experiment process is quite simple, classic paper chromatography in fact. The troubles we have encountered in making a repeatable experiment with photographic data included making a system to utilize multiple chromatography strips, constructing a mechanical system out of memory shape wire to manipulate the slides into the view of the camera, and developing a chemical detector which will allow us to observe transparent amino acids with fluorescence. Having overcome these most basic obstacles, we are now designing the experiment in the nanorack box with inventor pro software. Given our space restrictions (the experiment has to fit into a box practically the size of the tube of cardboard in a roll of toilet paper), we are trying to find a most optimal setup to get the most and best data, or in other words, the largest chromatographic strips with a greatest number of them in the field of view in the camera. Our progress with sketching the structures, including: the slides, bladder, camera, wires, and fluid chamber on the computer happens steadily as we realize the restrictions of our equipment and design around them.
The atmosphere today is quite subdued, given half the people are gone since it is election day. Even within the group we have, there are sharp opinions on who wants to know anything about the progress of the candidates (Joaquin). Additionally, there is a serious conversation with the higher ups from Silicon Valley regarding the flaws with code in the phototropism experiment which will be sent up this year. It appears today’s progress is somewhat limited, but we are all learning important lessons for the experiments we are fortunate to design as we develop our ideas.
Until next time!
Lorenzo Van Munoz
Today during the meeting I learned how to solder. It was a very interesting skill to learn. It was pretty fun and relaxing doing it, and I ended up soldering three resistors to the circuit board for practice. While I was learning this I gained an appreciation for basic electronics that I take for granted and how much work gets put into making them. I hope that I can master this ancient technique by practicing in the future.
I also experimented with the nitinol the chromatography group is using. Nitinol is memory metal that straightens out when placed in heat. I twisted the nitinol wire’s ends together and poured warm water over the wire. It quickly sprung up and landed about six feet away. I think it was because the ends untied so quickly in an attempt to straighten out that it hit against the bottom of the surface hard enough to leap into the air like a speeding gazelle.
Scientist and current leader of CASIS’ organ bioengineering research and microgravity team Jana Stoudemire came to our meeting as a guest speaker to talk about her experiences and projects related to space. She gave a presentation about Microgravity Research and elaborated on several ISS projects. The team was very grateful that Ms. Jana kindly took the time to advise us on our very own projects as well!
Check out Ms. Jana's Research in Microgravity presentation here.
Dorothy Metcalf-Lindenburger, a former astronaut, came to speak with the ISS team today. She played a major role in the STS-131 Discovery (April 5 to April 20, 2010), a resupply mission to the International Space Station, launched at night from the Kennedy Space Center, Florida.
Today Dorothy took us for a journey of her experiences before and after her spaceflight. We learned about the prerequisites in order to achieve such a high status in NASA, as well as her personal favorite experiences up in the spaceship.