Code UG Weekly Notes 09-19-01

Status Report From: Microgravity Research Program Office
Posted: Wednesday, September 19, 2001

Weekly Highlights for Week Ending 9/19/2001

** Indicates item is appropriate for the HQ senior staff
and may appear on the OBPR Web site:



MICROGRAVITY SCIENCE AND "PICTURE YOURSELF IN SPACE" FEATURED AT THE 2001 CLEVELAND NATIONAL AIR SHOW: Many Microgravity Science Program lithographs, brochures and posters were given out at the 2001 Cleveland National Air Show during the Labor Day weekend on 9/1-3/01, at the NASA Glenn Research Center (GRC) aerospace exhibit tent. Microgravity Science Division engineers and scientists staffed the "Picture Yourself in Space" photo booth where visitors could get their picture taken as if they were an astronaut. The ever-popular photo booth was complemented by the International Space Station (ISS) model kiosk. This year's air show enjoyed large crowds (estimated at 110,000 -120,000). For more information, see: and

MECHANICS OF GRANULAR MATERIALS (MGM) NASA EDUCATION GUIDE: The Microgravity Research Program Office (MRPO) Outreach & Education staff is collaborating with the MGM flight experiment team to develop two NASA Education Guides - one for middle school science students and one for the high school level. Both Education Guides feature hands-on laboratory simulations of the MGM experiment and will be incorporated into the STS-107 outreach materials.

KC-135 STUDENT EXPERIMENT TECHNICAL COORDINATION EFFORTS: At the request of the Microgravity Research Program Office (MRPO) Outreach and Education Lead, Microgravity Research Group personnel established the technical interface between the Auburn University (AU) KC-135 Student Experiment Team and combustion science experts at the Glenn Research Center (GRC). The KC-135 student experiment will evaluate fire supression techniques in a reduced gravity environment. Technical experts from GRC's combustion science discipline are being requested to review the adequacy of the AU KC-135 combustion hardware design and to provide guidance on the fire supression methodologies that are being proposed as part of the AU experiment design.

MICROGRAVITY OUTREACH & EDUCATION MATERIALS PROVIDED TO SPACE NURSING SOCIETY: The Secretary of the Space Nursing Society, Scott Rhoades, RN, BSN, PHRN, requested and received outreach materials for use in multiple Space Nursing Society workshops. Microgravity lithographs, brochures, posters and newsletters, as well as targeted bioscience materials were provided. NASA contact names for other biology- and health-related programs were also provided.

NATIONAL CENTER FOR MICROGRAVITY RESEARCH TEACHER SABBATICAL BEGIN: The 2001-2002 teacher sabbatical has begun her year working at the National Center for Microgravity Research/Fluids and Combustion at Glenn Research Center. Ann Schwartz teaches 8th grade science at Emerson Middle School for the Lakewood City Schools. She will oversee the pilot testing and completion of the middle school educator's guide Amusement Park Physics with a NASA Twist and How High Is It; work on K-6 and high school activities for NASA's Student Glovebox products; assist in the high school competition DIME (Dropping In a Microgravity Environment); and present at teacher conferences. Besides supporting the Education Outreach Program, Ann will assist scientist John Kizito with his fluids research studying surface tension, boiling/melting, and rat urine.

GRC TELESCIENCE CENTER FEATURED IN NEWSLINK: The NASA Glenn Research Center (GRC) Telescience Support Center (TSC) was featured in NEWSLINK, the newsletter for the Federal Laboratory Consortium for Technology Transfer. The article, entitled, "Expanded Telescience Support Center Monitors First Local Experiments", describes how science teams at GRC and their university partners can now monitor and command their own International Space Station experiments for the first time.


FAWG REVIEWING DELAY OPTIONS TO STS-107: The Flight Assignment Working Group (FAWG) reviews possible delay of STS-107: Numerous STS-107 launch delay options were discussed by the FAWG members during its bimonthly meeting held on 9/13/01. The mission will be delayed from its current launch date of 5/02. However, it has not been determined how lengthy the delay will be. Several manifest options were presented to the group which indicate that the mission could be delayed until 10/02. This delay creates additional funding concerns for the Office of Biological and Physical Research (OBPR), since the launch delay is presently not funded.

COLLISIONS INTO DUST EXPERIMENT-2 (COLLIDE-2) PRESHIP REVIEW COMPLETED: The COLLIDE-2 is a Hitchhiker payload planned for launch 11/29/01 on STS-108. The Principal Investigator is Prof. Joshua Colwell of the University of Colorado Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics (LASP). The hardware was designed and built by a team primarily composed of students from LASP with oversight from Glenn Research Center. COLLIDE-2 performs low-velocity impact experiments into simulated planetary regoliths (dust) in a microgravity environment. These impacts simulate the conditions in planetary rings and the early stages of protoplanetary disks to help scientists understand the conditions that lead to planet formation. For more information, see:


MICROGRAVITY RESEARCH PROGRAM OFICE (MRPO) PAYLOAD OPERATIONS STATUS ON INTERNATIONAL SPACE STATION (ISS) 7A.1 STAGE: Week 3 (9/3/01) of Stage 7A.1 of ISS Increment 3 has gone well with minor interruptions due to the software update to EXPRESS Rack 1 with the hope that it will resolve the current rack communication problems. The Physics of Colloids in Space experiment has begun detailed science investigations on thebinary colloid samples. Preliminary study has generated very exciting data for planning future work. The Cellular Science Experiment has also completed all its science operations successfully and have the samples preserved. This experiment represents the first cell culture work on the ISS, which involves several medically important cell lines. Remaining MRPO sponsored payloads are continuing to work nominally, with minor communication problems associated with the EXPRESS Racks.

PHYSICS OF COLLOIDS IN SPACE (PCS): EXPPCS began detailed investigations of the crystallization of the AB6 and AB13 binary colloid samples with a 24 hour run this week. These investigations will make heavy use of the optical fiber-based light scattering and Bragg scattering components to study the evolution of the Bragg peaks in the scattered light distributions. A 48 hour run now underway initiated continues this effort. To date, experiments performed by EXPPCS have proceeded well, with the instrumentation exceeding the PI team's expectations. The PI states, "the initial investigation generated exciting data, particularly from the Colloid Polymer Critical Point sample, and served to map the course of the detailed investigations, which are now underway.



PRESENTATION AT 2001 SMALL TALK CONFERENCE: On 8/30/2001, Dr. Mark van der Woerd, Universities Space Research Association (USRA/MSFC), gave a presentation, entitled "Lab-on-a-Chip Based Protein Crystallization," at the Small Talk Conference in San Diego, CA, 8/27-30/2001. In this presentation, the results from a protein crystal growth feasibility study in a microfluidics (LabChip) environment were discussed. This meeting focuses on laboratory automation techniques. The combination of protein crystallization and the Lab-on-a-Chip concept is new and attracted significant interest from conference participants.



ALLIANCE FOR MICROGRAVITY MATERIALS SCIENCE AND APPLICATIONS (AMMSA) SEMINARS: The AMMSA hosted four seminars during the weeks of August 27-September 7. On Monday, 8/27/2001, Dimiter Petsev, of the University of Alabama in Huntsville, made a presentation, entitled "Interactions, Aggregation, and Phase Transformations in Protein Solutions." On Wednesday, 8/29/2001, C.P. Lee and A.A. Chernov, of Universities Space Research Association, presented "Solutal Convection Around Growing Protein Crystals and Diffusional Purification in Space." On Friday, 8/31/2001, Daniel Adamek, of Tallahassee, FL, presented "Characterization of the Hydrophobic Cavity of Interleukin 1-beta." On Friday, 9/7/2001, Alexandre P. Kuzin, of Southern Research Institute, presented "X-Ray Study of D-Alanyl-D-Alanine Carboxypeptidase/Transpeptidase, B-lactamases and Vancomycin-resistant Ligase: Molecular Base for Rational Drug Design."

ITERATIVE BIOLOGICAL CRYSTALLIZATION (IBC): On 9/5/2001, Mike Harrington, of the Center for Biophysical Science and Engineering at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB), visited the IBC group to learn about the IBC project and discuss UAB's Cryopreservation Prime Item (CPPI) that has been designed to harvest and cryopreserve macromolecular crystals. The dialogue was to exchange information concerning interfaces for IBC and CPPI.

ITERATIVE BIOLOGICAL CRYSTALLIZATION TEAM MEMBERS VISIT CALIPER TECHNOLOGIES: Several team members from the Iterative Biological Crystallization team traveled to Caliper Technologies in California 8/13-17/2001 for Application Developer Program training. This is a crucial step in the initiation of Phase II activities between NASA and Caliper aimed at developing a new chip for use in macromolecular crystallization.

MARSHALL SPACE FLIGHT CENTER RESEARCHER INVITED TO SPEAK AT INTERNATIONAL SYMPOSIUM IN JAPAN: The Japan Atomic Energy Research Agency and the National Institute of Agrobiological Sciences has invited Dr. Edward Snell, Universities Space Research Association (USRA/MSFC), to present a talk about his research at the 3rd International Symposium on Organized Research Combination System (ORCS), "Development of New Structural Biology Including Hydrogen and Hydration." The meeting will be held in Tsukuba, Japan, 12/10-12/2001.

PROPOSAL ACCEPTED AT STANFORD SYNCHROTRON RADIATION LABORATORY: Drs. Edward Snell, Universities Space Research Association (USRA), Mark van der Woerd (USRA), Craig Kundrot (MSFC), Russell Judge, University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH), and Aniruddha Achari (Rathyeon) submitted a collaborative proposal, entitled "High Resolution Structural Studies on Macromolecular Crystals," for beamtime at the Stanford Synchrotron Radiation Laboratory. The proposal was given the highest ranking, and a program of beamtime was allocated for the next two years with an extension available for two additional years. Samples to be studied include proteins, RNA, and DNA supporting three NASA-funded investigations: "Cool crystals - a physical and biochemical study of macromolecular crystal cryopreservation (Principal Investigator: Dr. Snell), "Macromolecule nucleation and growth rate dispersion studies: A predictive technique for crystal quality improvement in microgravity" (Principal Investigator: Dr. Judge), and "Optimizing the use of microgravity to improve diffraction quality of problematic biomacromolecular crystals" (Principal Investigator: Dr. Kundrot).

BIOTECHNOLOGY PROGRAM BRIEFING AT CENTER FOR BIOPHYSICAL SCIENCE AND ENGINEERING: Dr. Craig Kundrot and Steve Lide, both from Marshall Space Flight Center, visited the Center for Biophysical Science and Engineering (CBSE) at the University of Alabama at Birmingham on 8/30/2001. They briefed the CBSE director and staff on the Biotechnology Program. Topics covered included the flight manifest, the Associate Investigator Program, the Macromolecular Crystal Growth Center at the Hauptman-Woodward Medical Research Institute, and the plans for the Iterative Biological Crystallization and Crystal Preservation Prime Item projects.


QUANTITATIVE DETECTION OF COMBUSTION SPECIES USING ULTRA-VIOLET DIODE LASERS: The objective of this Phase II SBIR, led by J. Pilgrim of Southwest Sciences, is the development of a robust, wavelength-agile, tunable, sensitive system for quantitative gas sensing based on diode laser technology, and to use this system with blue or ultraviolet diode lasers for the detection of radical species in microgravity combustion experiments. The Phase I effort examined the performance of the blue diode lasers which have come on the market in the past few years. The performance of these lasers by themselves was inadequate for quantitative spectroscopy, and as a result, the Contractor developed an electronically-tunable external cavity which allows any diode laser to be used as a continuously tunable, wide-range, and stable source at relatively low cost. The Phase II effort will further develop the external cavity technology. Recently, the properties of the external cavity were examined using a simpler spectroscopic system, the near-infrared spectrum of HCN near 1550 nm. The tuning rate was determined as a function of injection current and temperature. With single-pass measurement of HCN, minimum detectable absorbance was estimated at approximately 10-4 , which will be adequate to determine radical concentrations in flames.

CHARACTERISTICS OF NON-PREMIXED TURBULENT FLAMES IN MICROGRAVITY: The objective of this ground-based project, led by Dr. U. Hegde of the NCMResearch, is to gather experimental data in hydrocarbon turbulent gas-jet diffusion flames in microgravity to validate or refine predictive capabilities. The research will improve fundamental understanding of turbulence characteristics in gas-jet diffusion. Studies of momentum-dominated flames in normal gravity require large jet velocities, which lead to difficulties in resolving the flame, thereby precluding an in-depth understanding of the flame characteristics. In a microgravity environment, the jet velocity can be reduced while still maintaining both turbulent and momentum-dominated conditions and the flame behavior can be resolved. Recently, turbulent propane flames, in collaboration with Prof. Chen from UC Berkeley and Dr. Echekki of Sandia Labs, have been studied to determine the nature of the flame instability for triple flames and jet flames in normal gravity. While it is not conclusively demonstrated that the jet flame exhibits triple flame structure near its base, there is considerable correspondence between its behavior and the triple flame behavior. These include, for example, a strong inflection point due to temperature gradients in the normal gravity case but very weak or non-existent inflection point for the microgravity case, and larger lift off heights for the normal gravity flames. The fluctuations of velocity and local temperature were studied in conjunction with the flame speed relative to the incoming flow to the triple flame structure. Since during an instability, there is a mean motion of the flame to the downstream, the background state is not a clean steady state as is assumed in classic instability studies. Hence, there is some ambiguity in classifying the instability. However, it is found that if one moves with the flame, the variation of the oscillatory amplitudes with time is weak during the initial motion and the growth is primarily with downstream distance. This is the signature of a convective instability.


DROPLET GROWTH BY COALESCENCE IN BINARY FLUID MIXTURES: Fluid Physics PI Prof. R. Davis (University of Colorado) and his team investigated the evolution of the drop-size distribution in immiscible fluid mixtures following well-specified shear histories by in situ microscopy, allowing determination of the shear-induced coalescence efficiency. At small capillary number, coalescence efficiency is constant, whereas at larger values of capillary number, coalescence efficiency decreases, in agreement with theory accounting for slight deformation of the drops in close approach. Coalescence causes the drop-size distribution to broaden in general, but greater deformation of the larger drops at high shear rates causes the drop-size distribution to remain narrow. The properties of immiscible fluids (e.g., the texture of foods and the mechanical properties of polymer blends) depend strongly on the size of the dispersed phase. Usually the desired size is much smaller than the equilibrium size, so that small drops grow with time, primarily by coalescence, which requires the movement of drops toward one another. This was reported in the following paper:

Brian E. Burkhart, Prasad V. Gopalkrishnan, Steven D. Hudson, Alex M. Jamieson, Michael A. Rother and Robert H. Davis "Droplet Growth by Coalescence in Binary Fluid Mixtures," Physical Review Letters, Volume 87, Number 9 27 August 2001.

FEEDBACK CONTROL OF WEAKLY NONLINEAR RAYLEIGHBÉNARDMARANGONI CONVECTION: Fluid Physics PI Prof. Kelly (UCLA) and his Co-I study the effect of proportional feedback control on the onset and development of finite-wavelength Rayleigh-Bénard-Marangoni (RBM) convection using weakly nonlinear theory as applied to Nield's model, which includes both thermocapillarity and buoyancy but ignores deformation of the free surface. A two-layer model configuration is used, which has a purely conducting gas layer on top of the liquid. In the feedback control analysis, a control action in the form of temperature or heat flux is considered. Both measurement and control action are assumed to be continuous in space and time. Besides demonstrating that stabilization of the basic state can be achieved on a linear basis, the results also indicate that a wide range of weakly nonlinear flow properties can also be altered by the linear and nonlinear control processes used here. These include changing the nature of hexagonal convection and the amount of subcritical hysteresis associated with subcritical bifurcation. These results were reported in the following paper:

A. C. OR and R. E. KELLY, "Feedback control of weakly nonlinear Rayleigh Bénard Marangoni Convection," Journal of Fluid Mechanics (2001), 440:27-47

TEMPERATURE FIELDS IN A LIQUID DUE TO THE THERMOCAPILLARY MOTION OF BUBBLES AND DROPS: Experiments were performed on the motion of isolated air bubbles and drops of Fluorinert FC-75 moving in a Dow-Corning silicone oil under the action of an applied temperature gradient in a reduced gravity environment aboard the Space Shuttle in orbit. The disturbance of the imposed temperature field due to the motion of the objects was studied optically using a shearing interferometer with a Wollaston prism and the results of a typical bubble run were compared with theoretical predictions. Also, the liquid velocity field surrounding the bubbles and drops has been qualitatively investigated in a few runs by the observation of tracer particles dispersed in the continuous phase fluid. The observed isotherm structure is in qualitative agreement with that predicted from numerical solution. This was reported in the following paper:
G. Wozniak, R. Balasubramaniam, P. H. Hadland, andR. S. Subramanian, "Temperature fields in a liquid due to the thermocapillary motion of bubbles and drops," Experiments in Fluids, Volume 31 Issue 1 (2001) pp 84-89.



POSTER PRESENTATIONS AT MICROSCOPY AND MICROANALYSIS 2001 MEETING: Chris Cochrane, Universities Space Research Association (USRA/MSFC), made two poster presentations at the Microscopy and Microanalysis 2001meeting in Long Beach, CA, 8/5-9/2001. The posters were entitled, "Characterization of Carbon Nanotubes Grown by Chemical Vapor Deposition" (by J. Cochrane, S. Zhu, C.-H. Su, and S. Lehoczky) and "Characterization of Semiconductors grown in a Rotating Magnetic Field" (by J. Cochrane and P. Carpenter).


Microgravity Research Team/Program Manager's Review Telecon
September 20, 2001 - 9:00am - 1:00pm (central time)

Microgravity Outreach at NEW for Science Centers and Museums
The Microgravity Research Program Office (MRPO) Outreach & Education staff has been asked by the NASA Education Office to make two presentations for NEW (NASA Educational Workshops) for Science Centers and Museums to be held September 16-22 at Marshall Space Flight Center. Both presentations will be September 20 in Marshall's Discovery Lab.

Office of Biological and Physical Research (OBPR) Fall Workshop
Representatives from the Microgravity Research Program Office (MRPO) Outreach & Education team are planning to attend and present at the OBPR Outreach Fall Workshop at JSC September 24-26, 2001 (RESCHEDULED).

National Center for Microgravity Research in Fluids and Combustion (NCMRFC) Upcoming workshops for September
The NCMRFC Education Outreach Program staff will present the How High Is It workshop to math educators in Columbus, OH for the Regional National Council of Teachers of Mathematics conference.

Girl Scout Aerospace Badge Project
National Center for Microgravity Researvh in Fluids and Combustion (NCMRFC) and Glenn Research Center volunteers are coordinating efforts to host an Aerospace Badge day in October for 40-60 Mayfield Heights Girl Scouts. The junior girl scouts will spend the day at NASA Glenn Research Center to meet partial requirements for their Aerospace Badge. The event is tentatively scheduled for October 20. The scouts will tour the Zero Gravity Facility, participate in bottle rocket launches, have lunch with NASA women scientists, engineers, and pilots, and complete a scavenger hunt in the Visitor Center. Troop leaders will receive NASA materials and training so they are prepared to finish the badge requirements back in their troop. This event is a pilot test for an Aerospace Badge event in January that will be open to a larger number of junior girl scouts of the Greater Lake Eerie Council.

Additional meetings and symposia can be found at:

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