December 9, 2021

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What was the purpose of the experiments conducted by the French astronaut aboard the ISS?

“At night, the border between India and Pakistan shines like a procession of shiny worms.” This is not haiku, but a message from Thomas Peskett with a photo taken from the International Space Station (ISS) Twitter, Instagram Or Facebook.

The French astronaut’s activity, after being in space for more than six months, returned to Earth overnight from Monday 8th to Tuesday 9th, not limited to posting on social networks. Beautiful pictures Of the earth Where Views of life on the ISS. In orbit at an altitude of about 400 km, it has participated in several experiments: one hundred for the alpha mission. According to the European Space Agency (ESA), Thomas Baskett has dedicated 50% of his time to scientific research since the end of April. But what are these experiences for?

Anger Educational area for young audiences, By bubbles, they can be divided into two main types: space exploration and research, summarized by FranceInfo Remy Canton, project manager for the alpha mission. NASA, which funds most of the ISS, sets key directions. And the US space agency, in particular, agrees with Remi Canton on the background of the new race against China. Scenes: Establishing a Future Lunar Base and Exploring Mars.

To help astronauts protect themselves from the cosmic rays that cause premature cancer, Thomas Baskett took part in a project called “Lumina”. It is an optical fiber dosimeter that measures ionizing radiation (which has the property of darkening under the influence of optical fiber radiation). This device can warn astronauts about upcoming solar storms.

Long-distance space travel causes problems for astronauts’ psychology and their sleep. Regarding this last point, Thomas Pesket tested The helmet of dreams. Eventually, it will allow them to access relaxation techniques inspired by cytology or cardiac synchronization.

To explore the surface of new celestial bodies, astronauts aboard the ISS are testing devices with the aim of doing robotics from a distance. Using a virtual reality headset and joystick, they can operate vehicles on Mars.

These experiments are additionally provided in neuroscience such as Crosby, where the astronaut is equipped with a Force Feedback System as he is always equipped with a virtual reality headset.

But the experiments at the International Space Station are mainly scientific. There is also one “Incomprehensibility”Remy Canton evaluates the activities of the general public, especially within the ISS.

“The International Space Station is a science laboratory, no more, no less. It’s a different place.”

Remy Canton, project manager for Alpha Mission

to franceinfo

Laboratories may request manipulations on the ISS ship because they must make observations at zero gravitational force, to observe its effects or to avoid gravitational force exerted on the earth. So Thomas Pesket himself is a laboratory assistant, design engineer, conducting experiments for other scientists. “He’s not an expert on supercritical fluids”, Refers to Remy Canton. “In terms of knowledge we add our stone to the building, but we have only one link in the chain.”, He argues, provokes “Long Continuation”.

So the lessons learned are varied and sometimes dry. “We have made progress in the knowledge of turbulent waves in the two-phase media. But I do not know that many are interested in it.”, Laughs Remy Canton. He also mentions that “Satellite stabilization” Or “Marangoni Effects”. Short, “Ecol Normal Superior and various labs are full of complex issues that led to scientific publications”.

Jean-Louis Fellas, director of the National Center for Space Research’s (Cnes) Earth observation program, praised the ISS ‘scientific achievement in reporting that three books were being written. Each will be between 300 and 400 pages, and will be concise throughout “Thousands of pages of scientific articles on experiments carried out at the station”, Promises FrancesInfo, former managing director of the World Space Research Organization (GOSPAR).

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“Of course we learned things, but this must be measured in terms of cost-effectiveness ratio.”, Former French astronaut Patrick Patri, familiar with FranceInfo, describes the ISS “Can orbit the earth” Are conducted in “Burnett Experiences”.

Michael Saracin, Physicist, University of Belgium, Namur Made accounts for The world (Subscribers article), In 2017. Between 1998 and 2015, as a result of work on the ISS, an average of 88 million euros was spent on each of the approximately 1,200 scientific publications, compared to the cost of the station. The Laue-Langevin Institute, dedicated to particle physics, we have at Grenoble a large instrument comparable to the ISS. Between 2012 and 2015, it generated 1,700 articles at an average cost of 200 200,000. “

Although the amounts spent are significant, the tangible benefits of these experiences for the general population are small. “We are not based on applications, but on knowledge”, Remy Canton Slice. “At the beginning of the ISS, NASA pioneered the development of revolutionary applications to justify the cost of the station. There are some, but in reality it is not reliable.”, He agrees.

Possible terrain applications arise after research conducted for the needs of astronauts. In 2016, when Thomas Baskett first stayed at the ISS, Matiss conducted the experiment. Its purpose is to create antibacterial surfaces. “Smart” Bacteria can not stick to it and then multiply.

Useful within the station – to control the risk of infection on board and to keep surfaces clean in confined spaces – is also valuable for door handles in hospitals, public transport or health facilities. Five years after the first tests on the ISS ship, the surfaces are in their third edition. “We are still far from large areas”, Warns Remy Canton.

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Among the rare applications that can be used on Earth, he mentions the telemake experiment carried out during the alpha mission. “The idea is that small objects can be moved and captured by ultrasonic waves”, Remy Canton explains. First, it is a tool for the astronaut who does not want to land or wants to move objects that he wants to defend himself.

Ideas such as non-invasive treatment of kidney stones then emerged. This will allow them to be expelled or transferred to better places in the body so that they can be destroyed. Another medical application will allow “Targeted drug delivery, i.e. the ability to release drug particles into a container or wall”, Expects Remy Canton. “We are not yet there as we are exploring the possibility of moving various objects such as glass, plastic or wood this way.”, He is angered by this call for patience: “It may take ten or fifteen years from the moment we make our contribution to the moment it really succeeds.”

France and Europe continue to send men mainly to the ISS “Value Arguments”, Causes “Soft Power”, Francesinfo Isabelle Sourbès-Verger’s Appraisals, CNRS Research Director, Specialist in Space Policy. “Le Cnes could not have imagined that it would not be in the human aviation industry.”, She says. In short: France and the European Union want to show that they are counting on capturing space.

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Essentially, since its inception, the ISS has had a political function rather than a scientific function for the United States. The industry is particularly visible again in competition with China. But the European Space Agency accommodates it. “Europe has strategic, scientific and technological interests, so we are on time.”, Recognizes Remy Canton. Immediately before adding: “In the proper sense of the word.”