This week's Earth Observation research focused on Hurricane Isabel. Starting last Friday morning, and continuing this past Saturday and Monday, cameras on the Station's S1 Truss and Destiny Laboratory, plus a handheld camera operated by Lu, provided an additional perspective on the size and shape of the large storm as it moved through the western Atlantic Ocean on its way to landfall along the North Carolina coast.
Lu performed the first operations with the Hand Posture Analyzer this week; it was delivered on the most recent Russian Progress resupply vessel last month. Working at the Human Research Facility rack in the Destiny Laboratory, Lu donned an instrumented glove and performed a series of hand and arm movements. Researchers will study the data to learn how a person in zero-g uses hand and arm muscles to reach and grasp items, and what impact that has on muscle fatigue. Lu also used the Microgravity Sciences Glovebox (MSG) to complete two more experiment runs of the Pore Formation and Mobility Investigation, a study of the formation of bubbles in samples of metals or crystals that may weaken the sample's strength or effectiveness.
Lu's work inside Destiny this week included two educational activities: his demonstration of how to use MSG will be incorporated into a NASA Educator Guide for teachers of middle school students, who will attempt to build their own gloveboxes and perform simple experiments. He also completed a demonstration illustrating the difference between the scientific concepts of weight and mass. NASA's Office of Spaceflight sponsored both demonstrations.
Both Station crewmembers spent time each day looking after the proper operation of Station systems. In particular, Lu completed troubleshooting ISS's Resistive Exercise Device, which affords the crewmembers another option for exerting muscles that don't encounter even routine resistance in the weightless environment of the Station, and Malenchenko performed upgrades in the Russian Service Module Zvezda by installing a replacement 800-amp battery, replacing a failed hard drive in Zvezda's portable computer system, and installing removable handrails on the galley table.
Malenchenko and Lu took time Thursday to discuss their mission with reporters at the Johnson Space Center in Houston. The Crew News Conference was part of a workshop on NASA efforts to meet the recommendations set out by the Columbia Accident Investigation Board to return the Space Shuttle to flight after the loss of Columbia and its crew on Feb. 1.
Preparation of components for delivery to ISS continues at the Kennedy Space Center, where the Multi-Element Integrated Test between the Japanese Experiment Module-Pressurized Module-Kibo-and NASA's Node-2 has been completed. Node-2 will be attached to the forward end of the Destiny Laboratory after its delivery on assembly mission 10A, and Kibo will later be docked to the port side of Node-2.