Subscribe to our free daily newsletters
  Space Industry and Business News  

Subscribe to our free daily newsletters

Researchers Explore Materials Degradation In Space

On March 22, an astronaut from the Space Shuttle Endeavor carried two small, passive experiment containers filled with various materials outside the shuttle and mounted them to the International Space Station for the sixth Materials International Space Station Experiment. The containers expose the new materials to space. After approximately one year, the samples will be retrieved and evaluated based on their reaction to atomic oxygen erosion, direct sunlight, radiation and extremes of heat and cold. (NASA photo)
by Molly Lachance
Air Force Office of Scientific Research Public
Arlington VA (AFNS) Mar 31, 2008
When Space Shuttle Endeavor launched March 11, more than 1,000 new materials were onboard to be tested as a part of the sixth Materials International Space Station Experiment, or MISSE-6. The Air Force Office of Scientific Research initiated MISSE-6 to gain a theoretical understanding of the mechanisms involved in materials degradation.

In the low-Earth-orbit environment -- 50-1,240 miles above the Earth's surface -- materials erode more quickly because they are exposed to ultraviolet rays and atomic oxygen, an elemental form of oxygen not found in Earth's atmosphere.

Results from MISSE-6 will provide a better understanding of the durability of various materials in a harsh environment. Knowing which materials truly can be used in space will have important applications in the design of future spacecraft.

MISSE-6 consists of two sample containers, much like suitcases, attached to the outside of the International Space Station that are used to test the effects of exposure to space. Each container houses small samples of hundreds of new materials.

Some of the materials selected for MISSE-6 include an extremely hard, ceramic-like material developed at the University of North Dakota; enzymes and cells encapsulated in silica prepared by UES, Inc.; and spider silk thread from Oxford University.

AFOSR and The Boeing Company assembled and installed the materials into the sample containers before sending them to NASA's Langley Research Center for tests. The Boeing Company is the prime contractor used by NASA to design, develop, integrate, test and deliver the U.S.-built elements of the International Space Station.

On March 22, an astronaut carried the sample containers outside the shuttle and mounted them to their designated locations on the ISS.

After approximately one year of exposure, another team of astronauts will retrieve the sample containers and bring the samples back to Earth. There, researchers will evaluate the materials based on their reaction to atomic oxygen erosion, direct sunlight, radiation and extremes of heat and cold. This will help them determine which materials can withstand the harsh environment of space.

"Making it unique, MISSE-6 is the first of these experiments to test biomaterials," said Lt. Col. Robert Mantz, program manager for the Mathematics, Information and Life Sciences directorate at AFOSR. "It will also focus on active experiments to include shutters, biases placed on samples and real-time data recording."

MISSE-6 also is the first of its kind to connect to space station power, allowing astronauts to respond more quickly, should the experiments encounter any problems. The work required to connect to space station power has laid the groundwork for a data link for MISSE-7.

Related Links
Space Technology News - Applications and Research

Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily :: SpaceWar :: TerraDaily :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News

CEE Researchers Unravel The Secrets Of Spider Silk's Strength
Boston MA (SPX) Mar 26, 2008
The strength of a biological material like spider silk lies in the specific geometric configuration of structural proteins, which have small clusters of weak hydrogen bonds that work cooperatively to resist force and dissipate energy, researchers in Civil and Environmental Engineering have revealed.

  • Google sees wireless Internet on unused television airwaves
  • Japan marks funeral for second-generation phones
  • Apple iPhone aiming to dethrone BlackBerry
  • Google stock price sinks on Internet ad-slump fears

  • German military satellite launched by Russia: report
  • Russian Rockot Launch Vehicle To Orbit European GOCE Satellite
  • Cape Canaveral Airmen Launch Delta II Rocket
  • ProStar GPS Guides Players At Arizona Golf Resort

  • Europe's EADS finds sweet home in Alabama despite uproar
  • A380 superjumbo makes European debut in London
  • Aviation industry must act fast on climate change: Airbus chief
  • Northrop, EADS to invest 600 mln dlrs in Alabama site

  • Lockheed Martin Team Achieves Major Milestone On US Navy's Mobile User Objective System
  • BAE And USAF To Develop New Technologies For Mission Management
  • Lockheed Martin Wins Contract To Support Defense Department High Performance Computing Centers
  • Northrop Grumman Ships First Beyond-Line-of-Sight IP Network To US Air Force E-8C Fleet

  • Researchers Explore Materials Degradation In Space
  • CEE Researchers Unravel The Secrets Of Spider Silk's Strength
  • Satellites Take Sustainability To New Heights
  • Russian-Launched US Satellite Unlikely To Reach Target Orbit

  • Northrop Grumman Appoints Scott Winship To VP And Program Manager - Navy Unmanned Combat Air System
  • NASA Names John Shannon New Space Shuttle Manager
  • Michael Larkin Appointed Executive Vice President Of Orbital's Satellite Business Unit
  • Boeing Integrated Defense Systems Looks To Future With Leadership Changes

  • Satellites Can Help Arctic Grazers Survive Killer Winter Storms
  • CrIS Atmospheric Sounder Completes Vibration Testing
  • Brazil, Germany To Develop Night-Vision Radar Satellite
  • NASA Goddard Delivers Aquarius Radiometer To JPL

  • Drivers Have A New Edge Behind The Wheel With Help From Njection.Com
  • FiberPatrol Is Intrusion Detection Technology Of Choice For Qinghai-Tibet Railway
  • Consumer Telematics Hardware And Services Revenue Will Reach 41 Billion Dollars By 2013
  • Intelleflex And SATO Partner Around Extended Capability RFID And Data Solutions

  • The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright Space.TV Corporation. AFP and UPI Wire Stories are copyright Agence France-Presse and United Press International. ESA Portal Reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement, agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space.TV Corp on any Web page published or hosted by Space.TV Corp. Privacy Statement