ISS & NASA have done the most important experiments of the year during 2020.
In recent days we have seen the publication of many celebratory posts that have summarized the main events of 2020. NASA also wanted to have its say, sharing an update about the most important discoveries and experiments that have been conducted in the last 12 months on the Station International Space.
Activities on the ISS are always going on and on, and every year there are many significant experiments. NASA says that there are dozens of experiments in progress at any time of the year at the same time. It includes many of a medical nature, such as studies about Parkinson’s.
Over the last year of the Station – more precisely between 1 October 2019 and 1 October 2020 – more than 300 scientific publications have been identified based on data and experiments from the ISS, testifying how this laboratory is fundamental for developing research around the world.
One of the most significant discoveries of 2020 bears an all-Italian signature. It is the result of 5 years of research by the Italian Space Agency, the University of Milan and the University of Pavia. The initial experiment was conducted in 2015 by the team led by Samantha Cristoforetti.
The publication arrived in 2020 and demonstrated how the use of individual nanoparticles could counteract osteoporosis. These push the stem cells to transform into osteoblasts, therefore cells that actively contribute to good bone health maintenance.
In this case, the ISS offers a study environment that can hardly be reproduced on Earth, as its fundamental characteristics (microgravity and being outside the atmosphere) are responsible for accelerating osteoporosis in living organisms’ bones. , which is why it becomes easier to verify the effectiveness of the solutions studied. The results of the Italian research will have positive implications both for future astronauts and for Earth patients.
Remaining in the medical field, a study by the Canadian Space Agency MARROW examined the issue of anaemia – another typical problem of space travel – and confirmed that the loss of red blood cells is directly proportional to the time spent in space. Once back on Earth, the recovery times are between 1 and 3 months, depending on the duration of the mission. On the other hand, another experiment made it possible to discover a reliable indicator that certifies the destruction of red blood cells in human blood, a useful data to verify the actual danger of some, particularly extreme environments.
Among other noteworthy experiments, we find that relating to a drug capable of preventing the loss of lean and muscle mass through the use of myostatin, the discovery of an exoplanet by Asteria. This experiment demonstrates how using a control system with force feedback can improve the remote manoeuvrability of rovers in microgravity environments, one dedicated to the study of lightning storms and their effects on the atmosphere and much more.