Monthly Archives: April 2016

Science in Short: National DNA Day

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Anna-Sophia Boguraev, age 17, is pictured with her winning Genes in Space experiment, the miniPCR. The experiment was recently checked out and run aboard the International Space Station. Credits: NASA/ Kim Shiflett, NASA

Anna-Sophia Boguraev, age 17, is pictured with her winning Genes in Space experiment, the miniPCR. The experiment was recently checked out and run aboard the International Space Station. Credits: NASA/ Kim Shiflett, NASA

National DNA Day is a holiday celebrated on April 25. It commemorates the day in 1953 when James Watson, Francis Crick, Maurice Wilkins, Rosalind Franklin and colleagues published papers in the journal Nature on the structure of DNA.

In the United States, DNA Day was first celebrated on April 25, 2003 by proclamation of both the Senate and the House of Representatives. However, they only declared a one-time celebration, not an annual holiday. Every year from 2003 onward, annual DNA Day celebrations have been organized by the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI). April 25 has since been declared “International DNA Day” and “World DNA Day” by several groups.

The goal of National DNA Day is to offer students, teachers and the public an opportunity to learn about and celebrate the latest advances in genomic research and explore how those advances might impact their lives.

Today also marks the student submission deadline for the second year Genes in Space (GiS) student proposals. The first Genes in Space winner’s experiment using the miniPCR is currently operating on ISS. Checkout and two sample runs were completed on station this past week, and the final “Blue” sample is scheduled to be completed on Wednesday morning 4/27. The mini-polymerase chain reaction is a COTS instrument which replicates DNA in order to have enough to analyze. The specific objectives of this experiment are to use PCR technology to study epigenetic changes and how they affect the human immune system.

Marybeth Edeen
ISS, Research Integration Office Manager 

Science in Short: ARTE

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NASA astronaut Tim Kopra installed the Thermal Exchange hardware in the Microgravity Science Glovebox. Credits: NASA

NASA astronaut Tim Kopra installed the Thermal Exchange hardware in the Microgravity Science Glovebox. Credits: NASA

Our small devices have to dump a lot of heat from their electronics, if you have been sitting with your laptop on your lap wondering why it is getting so hot, you might also be interested in future improvements being sought through research on the International Space Station. Heat pipes are used to cool things like laptop computers and rely on an interface between liquid and gas phases in a liquid, plus capillary flow to return the cooled liquid back to the heated end. Previous research on the space station discovered inefficiencies in heat pipes and other research identified the new fundamental equations for capillary flow from research done on the orbiting laboratory. During the first week of April, and experiment called Advanced Research Thermal Passive Exchange (ARTE) , one of a number of new experiments testing this new knowledge to get practical applications, was completed on the space station. The Thermal Exchange hardware performed a series of powered test runs within the microgravity science glovebox to determine the impact of using various working fluids and different groove shapes on capillary action for heat pipes operating in a microgravity environment. The data collected will be used to further understand and validate numerical modelling of heat pipe behavior in microgravity, which can then be used to develop more passive and reliable thermal control systems for future exploration. This particular experiment was sponsored by the Italian Space Agency, and was led by scientists from DIMEAS – Dipartimento di Ingegneria Meccanica e Aerospaziale, I Facoltà di Ingegneria, Politecnico di Torino, Torino, Italy; related investigations testing various aspects of capillary flow and heat transfer are coming in the next few years, including some sponsored by CASIS as part of the ISS National Laboratory, and some sponsored by NASA.

NASA’s International Space Station Chief Scientist Julie Robinson, Ph.D. (NASA)

NASA’s International Space Station Chief Scientist Julie Robinson, Ph.D. (NASA)