Blogging, NASASocial, Photographs, Photography, Social Media, Space

Tricked Out Test Tube

Sheila Nielsen-Preiss, Principal Investigator for NASA’s Space Biology Project at Ames, holds her “tricked-out test tube” for the Micro-8 experiment to be held on the International Space Station. Sheila talked about how the experiments will investigate how spaceflight affects potentially infectious organisms during a NASA TV broadcast on September 19th at Kennedy Space Center. (That lucky me got to attend!) The yeast strain, Candida albicans (C. albicans), was launched on SpaceX’s Dragon cargo ship on September 21, 2014. Looking on is Ames scientist Sharmila Bhattacharya, who works with NASA’s Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, California. Sharmila is an investigator/scientist for Heart Effect Analysis Research Team conducting FLy Investigations and Experiments in Spaceflight (HEART FLIES). This is the first experiment to use the fruit fly, Drosophila melanogaster, to study the effects of spaceflight on the structure and function of the heart. To read more about these fascinating experiments, read NASA’s article here.

The fruit flies and yeast strains have since been delivered to the International Space Station, along with a 3-D printer, and mice, among other experiments and supplies weighing 2.5 tons!

During their flight, the mice and flies developed multiple funny personas on Twitter, @astrofruitflies and @astromicerule, which both continue to make hilarious posts. Considering they brought in the Big Bang Theory TV show to the discussion, how could you not love these astro mice and fruit flies?!?

I made all of my posts during my trip to NASA during my #NASASocial event through Twitter. If you want to check out all of the fun, follow me on Twitter @whatisitpic. I had such a mind-blowing experience, I’m still in awe a week later. But I suppose that’s what happens when mind-blowing things are happening all around you!

NASASocial, Photographs, Photography, Social Media, Space

Space Chronicles: 3-D Printing in Space

During my visit to NASA’s Kennedy Space Center as a social media representative (aka “socialite”), I learned so much information that my brain felt like it would burst! (Well, no wonder, I was just coming from my software release, where I spent way too many hours in front of my laptop, so technically, my brain was already mush.) But I had the best time of my life, this was an experience in the top three! I was certainly in my element, around a bunch of space junkies, communication geeks, photographers, designers, and writers, my kind of peeps.

We all got to participate in NASA TV broadcasts, where the engineers, scientists, program managers, directors, etc. talked about the various research experiments that would take place on the International Space Station once SpaceX’s Dragon was attached. Out of all the experiments, the 3-D printing caught my attention the most. (This is what has saved my hubby from setting up his 3-D printer on our dining room table, btw.) The ability to print parts in space on demand is just mind blowing! Even though 3-D printing has been tested on the “Vomit Comet” it needs to be tested in micro-gravity, which is ideal at the ISS, right? NASA partnered with a company, Made In Space, to build this particular 3-D printer. All of the little white pieces you see in the photos were parts printed with this printer. Just imagine, if we had this capability during the Apollo 13 spaceflight, what the astronauts could have made to resolve their issues! In the first photo, Niki Werkheiser, NASA’s 3D Printing in Zero-G Project Manager, gets ready for her talk with media and social media on NASA TV.