(ORDO NEWS) — The SpaceX Dragon spacecraft has launched from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida with more than 2,600 kg of science experiments, crew supplies and other cargo heading to the International Space Station.
The spacecraft launched on a Falcon 9 rocket. It is planned that after autonomous docking, it will remain there for about a month.
Among the science experiments Dragon will bring to the space station are:
The Earth Surface Mineral Dust Source Survey (EMIT), developed by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Southern California, uses NASA imaging spectroscopy technology to measure the mineral composition of dust in arid regions of the Earth.
Mineral dust raised into the air can travel considerable distances and affect climate, weather, vegetation, and more.
The study will collect images over the course of a year to map the mineral composition of regions of the Earth that produce dust.
Faster aging of the immune system
Aging is associated with changes in immune responses known as immunosensitivity. Microgravity causes changes in human immune cells that resemble this state, but occur faster than the actual aging process on Earth.
The immunosensitivity study uses tissue chips to study how microgravity affects immune function during flight and whether immune cells recover after it.
Tissue chips are small devices that hold human cells in a three-dimensional structure, allowing scientists to test how these cells respond to stress, drugs and genetic changes.
Genes, no cells
Cell-free technology is a platform for protein production without specialized equipment in which living cells must be grown.
The Genes in Space-9 project, sponsored by the National Laboratory, demonstrates cell-free protein production in microgravity and evaluates two cell-free biosensors that can detect specific target molecules.
These are just a few of the hundreds of studies currently being carried out aboard the orbiting laboratory in the areas of biology and biotechnology, physical sciences, and earth and space sciences.
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