STS-85 Discovery

 Active SEM


Included in STS-85 Discovery space shuttle are five active modules. These modules were conceived by classroom teams and chosen by open competition. The winning teams were designed by the students and teachers with the help of the technical support team. Testing and conceptual engineering were the responsibility of the students with the teacher serving as the liaison with the technical support team. A teacher serves as the Principal Investigator for each module. Their students will analyze the data returned from the module.


The active modules for flight STS-85 Discovery are as follows:

1. POLY - Polypodium Polypodioides (Resurrection Fern) is a native epiphyte capable of long dormancy when deprived of water. Under microgravity the samples will be supplied with water and blue LED light. Chlorophyll fluorescence will be used to measure the level of plant metabolism.

 2. RAD - Radiation Assay Device will consist of two small passive radiation dosimeters which will measure the radiation received through shielding provided by the payload container. The dosimeters have been donated by Landauer, a leading manufacturer. Results will be compared to similarly shielded detecter on earth to evaluate the orbital radiation environment. Because of the high orbital inclination of this flight, this environment is expected to be of great interest.

 4. SOUSA - Space Observation Using Sound Acquisition uses a small cassette tape recorder and microphone acoustically coupled to the payload structure. The tape will record operational sounds within the SEM payload. The resulting tape will be analyzed and compared to similar tapes acquired aboard aircraft, automobiles, and ocean vessels.

 4. OPIE - Orbital Paint Instrument Experiment consists of a small dispenser preloaded with water based tempera-type paint. The paint will be applied under orbital conditions. The resulting coverage will be examined microscopically (light and electron) to evaluate the differences in the polymerization and pigment distribution as compared to a control sample produced on Earth.

 Mission STS-85 marks the twenty-third flight of Discovery and the eighty-fifth shuttle flight for NASA.

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