Written by Melissa Kacena
The second and fourth scheduled procedures were on Tuesday, July 30 and Saturday, August 3, when astronaut Tyler Nicklaus “Nick” Hague “feeds” our cells. While most of the hardware is automated, during our practice experiments completed at NASA Ames, we discovered that the volume of “fresh” media provided to the cells was inconsistent between the 10 samples and would impact our science.
This variability would be like providing some people with one meal a day and other people with five meals per day and then studying who gained more weight. Clearly different results will be observed. We felt the best approach was for the astronauts to manually feed the cells using a syringe to deliver the same amount of media to all the cells.
The third scheduled procedure is Friday, August 2, where the astronauts will swap out the gas tank that is providing oxygen to our cells.
The final procedure is for the astronauts to terminate our experiment and store all of our specimens in freezers prior to packing samples back into the dragon capsule for delivery back to Earth at the end of the mission. After splashdown, the specimens will be sent to Johnson Space Center where they will be repackaged and returned to both IU and the Army for further processing and analysis.