Eugene Cernan

Resupply Mission Brings Mealworms and Mustard Seeds to Space Station

Orbital ATK will launch its Cygnus cargo spacecraft to the International Space Station on November 11, 2017 from Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia. It will be packed with cargo and scientific experiments for the six humans currently living and working on the orbiting laboratory.

The cargo spacecraft is named the S.S. Gene Cernan after former NASA astronaut Eugene Cernan, who is the last man to have walked on the moon.

Here are some of the really neat science and research experiments that will be delivered to the station: 

What’s Microgravity Got to do with Bacterial Antibiotics?

Antibiotic resistance could pose a danger to astronauts, especially since microgravity has been shown to weaken human immune response. E. coli AntiMicrobial Satellite (EcAMSat) will study microgravity’s effect on bacterial antibiotic resistance.

Results from this experiment could help us determine appropriate antibiotic dosages to protect astronaut health during long-duration human spaceflight and help us understand how antibiotic effectiveness may change as a function of stress on Earth.

Laser Beams…Not on Sharks…But on a CubeSat

Traditional laser communication systems use transmitters that are far too large for small spacecraft. The Optical Communication Sensor Demonstration (OCSD) tests the functionality of laser-based communications using CubeSats that provide a compact version of the technology.

Results from OCSD could lead to improved GPS and other satellite networks on Earth and a better understanding of laser communication between small satellites in low-Earth orbit.

This Hybrid Solar Antenna Could Make Space Communication Even Better 

As space exploration increases, so will the need for improved power and communication technologies. The Integrated Solar Array and Reflectarray Antenna (ISARA), a hybrid power and communication solar antenna that can send and receive messages, tests the use of this technology in CubeSat-based environmental monitoring. 

ISARA may provide a solution for sending and receiving information to and from faraway destinations, both on Earth and in space. 

More Plants in Space!  

Ready for a mouthful…The Biological Nitrogen Fixation in Microgravity via Rhizobium-Legume Symbiosis…aka the Biological Nitrogen Fixation experiment, will examine how low-gravity conditions affect the nitrogen fixation process of the Microclover legume (a plant in the pea family). Nitrogen fixation is a process where nitrogen in the atmosphere is converted into ammonia. This crucial element of any ecosystem is also a natural fertilizer that is necessary for most types of plant growth.

This experiment could tell us about the space viability of the legume’s ability to use and recycle nutrients and give researchers a better understanding of this plant’s potential uses on Earth.

What Happens When Mealworms Live in Space?

Mealworms are high in nutrients and one of the most popular sources of alternative protein in developing countries. The Effects of Microgravity on the Life Cycle of Tenebrio Molitor (Tenebrio Molitor) investigation studies how the microgravity environment affects the mealworm life cycle.

In addition to alternative protein research, this investigation will provide information about animal growth under unique conditions.

Mustard Seeds in Microgravity 

The Life Cycle of Arabidopsis thaliana in Microgravity experiment studies the formation and functionality of the Arabidopsis thaliana, a mustard plant with a genome that is fully mapped, in microgravity conditions.

The results from this investigation could contribute to an understanding of plant and crop growth in space.

Follow @ISS_Research on Twitter for more information about the science happening on space station. 

Watch the launch live HERE on Nov. 11, liftoff is scheduled for 7:37 a.m. EDT!

Make sure to follow us on Tumblr for your regular dose of space: http://nasa.tumblr.com.

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CPT-USN Eugene A. ‘Gene’ Cernan (14 March 1934 - 16 Jan 2017)

Gemini 9, Apollo 10, and Apollo 17 astronaut, the last man to set foot on the surface of the moon, passed away today at the age of 82. Cernan, a rough, tough Naval Aviator, A-4 jock, became part of NASA Group 3 in 1963. Gemini 9 in June 1966, proved a harrowing experience for Gene, it was one that taught us many invaluable lessons about EVA in space, a crucial step to the moon. Apollo 10 in May 1969, was to be the final test of the LEM ascent and descent stages and of it’s guidance systems from lunar orbit, a vital test flight that paved the way to Apollo 11′s historic first landing later that year. Apollo 17, the last of the historic 6 Apollo Lunar missions, in December 1972, Gene was in role as Commander of the flight, piloting the LEM along side Harrison Schmitt, landing in the mountainous region of the Taurus-Littrow valley. Gene became the last human of only 12 to set foot on the Moon.

sleep well among em’, Gene-o’

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Astronaut Eugene “Gene” Cernan, 3/14/1934 - 1/16/2017 

Astronaut Gene Cernan passed away over the weekend on January 16. Cernan was a member of @nasa‘s Gemini 9A, Apollo 10, and Apollo 17 missions.  As Commander of Apollo 17 he was also the last human to walk on the surface of the Moon.

  1. Apollo 17 Commander Eugene A. Cernan inside the Command Module. Image taken during the Apollo 17 mission on the Trans-Earth Coast (TEC). 
  2. Apollo 17 Commander Eugene Cernan driving Lunar Rovering Vehicle (LRV) at the Lunar Module Station,Quadrant 3. Image taken on Extravehicular Activity (EVA) 1 during the Apollo 17 Mission.
  3. Astronaut Eugene A. Cernan, Apollo 17 commander, is photographed inside the lunar module on the lunar surface following the third Extravehicular Activity (EVA 3) of the mission. Note lunar dust on his suit. The photograph was taken by astronaut Harrison H. Schmitt, lunar module pilot.
  4. View from station Lunar Module (LM),Flag,Commander Astronaut Eugene A. Cernan,Lunar Roving Vehicle, taken during the first Extravehicular Activity (EVA 1) of the Apollo 17 mission.

File Unit: Apollo 17 - AS17-0447 through AS17M-0545, 12/12/1972 - 12/12/1972Series: Photographs of the Apollo-Soyuz Test Project, 2005 - 2012Record Group 255: Records of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, 1903 - 2006 

More photos from the Apollo 17 mission in the @usnatarchives online Catalog