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