The Exploration of the Applications of Chemistry in Space Through the ISS
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One of the greatest achievements of humanity, a joint venture between 14 countries, worth billions of dollars and a past and present home to 157 astronauts, the International Space Station can be considered the most important project on Earth. The ISS has brought advancements in many areas of study, and chemistry is no exception. The question is, how was chemistry involved in the ISS? Firstly, the science of chemistry has been used to perfect and create new materials that the ISS would be made of. Secondly, chemistry was used to create favourable conditions for life on the ISS; many chemical compounds were created for use in the Life Support system. Lastly, the ISS has brought many innovations in the field of chemistry, further improving human life. With no further adieu, let us explore the applications of chemistry in space through the ISS.
Before the first module of the ISS, Zarya, was sent to space, many chemists and engineers were developing and perfecting materials that the ISS would be made of. Before the idea of an international station in space had arose, the Long Duration Exposure Facility, which was a schoolbus-sized, cylindrical facility designed to test the exposure of different materials in space, was sent to space with Space Shuttle Challenger on mission STS-41-C on April 6th, 1984, providing NASA with materials research data that is still used today (Kinard). The LDEF carried over 10000 materials samples, consisting of virtually any material even remotely considered for future optical, mechanical, electrical and other systems on future spacecraft, but most of the probe was covered in chromic anodized aluminum and silver Teflon thermal blankets (ibid.). The result of the experiment benefits spaceflight materials eng...
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