Japanese tether experiment hits snag

Japanese tether experiment hits snag

An electrodynamic tether experiment being conducted by the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency has apparently run into some problems, according to The Japan Times.

The tether, called Kounotori Integrated Tether Experiment or KITE, was attached to the outside of the Japanese Kounotori 6 cargo spacecraft, which departed from the International Space Station on Jan. 27, 2017, after six weeks attached to the orbiting lab.

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Cargo ships, expandables and spacewalks: ISS in 2016

Cargo ships, expandables and spacewalks: ISS in 2016

Between cargo ships servicing the outpost and spacewalks to maintain it, 2016 was arguably one of the busiest years for the International Space Station since the end of the space shuttle era.

Probably the most visible event for the space station in 2016 was the yearlong crew – NASA astronaut Scott Kelly and Russian cosmonaut Mikhail Kornienko – returning to Earth. They had launched to the outpost on March 27, 2015.

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Cygnus departs ISS, preps for fire experiment

Cygnus departs ISS, preps for fire experiment

After spending a month attached to the International Space Station, Orbital ATK’s OA-5 Cygnus was detached and released by the robotic Canadarm2 in the morning hours of Nov. 21.

The S.S. Alan Poindexter, as the cargo ship is named, was unberthed from the Earth-facing port of the Unity module and moved to about 10 meters below the outpost. A couple hours later, at 8:22 a.m. EST (13:22 GMT), astronaut Shane Kimbrough commanded Canadarm2 to release the craft.

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Food in space can taste different

Food in space can taste different

What did the romaine lettuce astronauts Scott Kelly and Kjell Lindgren ate in 2015 taste like? Arugula, according to Kelly. Apparently plants and foods can taste different in space than they do on Earth.

In an interview in April 2016, Gioia Massa, the NASA project scientist for Veggie, an experiment aboard the International Space Station designed to understand how to grow food in space, said she wasn't surprised by Kelly's description.

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NASA Video: A Gut Feeling

NASA Video: A Gut Feeling

NASA uploaded a pretty neat video about understanding gut bacteria. The video starts by stating there are 3 pounds of bacteria in the human gut. Wow! Dr. Fred Turek of Northwestern Universities Center for Sleep and Circadian Biology is studying that bacteria in astronauts on the International Space Station.

When Scott Kelly went to live in the orbital complex for a whole year, one of areas scientists were studying was the bacteria inside Kelly's gut and how they changed (or didn't) over the yearlong stay in microgravity.

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International Space Station "tricorder" sequences DNA in space for first time

International Space Station "tricorder" sequences DNA in space for first time

In a situation reminiscent of one on Star Trek, DNA was successfully sequenced on the International Space Station for the first time.

The Biomolecule Sequencer experiment, which was launched to the outpost via a SpaceX Dragon capsule in July 2016, was conducted by NASA astronaut and Expedition 48 flight engineer Kate Rubins. The investigation consisted of samples of mouse, virus and bacteria DNA and a candy-bar-sized hand-held device called MinION.

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