Each day this week Expedition 7 Commander Yuri Malenchenko and NASA ISS Science Officer Ed Lu completed a variety of maintenance tasks to keep their home on orbit in good shape, from monitoring the operation of life support systems to testing the quality of air and water.
In the coming week mission managers plan to have the crewmembers replace a storage battery in the Zvezda Service Module. As training for a contingency spacewalk, they also will have Malenchenko and Lu get into, and then out of, the American spacesuits. In their pre-flight training Malenchenko and Lu always had help donning and doffing the Extravehicular Mobility Unit. No spacewalks are planned for this increment.
The science mission of Expedition 7 picked up this week. Malenchenko took part in Russian biomedical experiments gauging the impact of the microgravity environment on blood cell count and body mass, while Lu began a new series of experiment runs with the InSPACE experiment in the Microgravity Sciences Glovebox (MSG) this week.
The MSG is a sealed container in the Destiny laboratory housing experiments involving materials that need to be isolated from the station environment. InSPACE, or Investigating the Structure of Paramagnetic Aggregates from Colloidal Emulsions, which was started during Expedition 6, studies how particles that are capable of being magnetized respond when a magnetic field is pulsed on and off.
Scientists hope to develop better fluids for systems that are routinely exposed to magnetic fields, such as automobile brake fluids and vibration damping systems, and to develop new applications such as vibration damping systems for buildings in earthquake-prone areas.
Wednesday morning the Expedition 7 crewmembers discussed the progress of their mission and its scientific research with the BBC Radio's World Service and WHEC-TV in Rochester, N.Y., near Lu's hometown of Webster, N.Y. Thursday they took part in an educational event, answering questions from students gathered at the Adler Planetarium in Chicago.