The “Endeavour” space shuttle was recently launched carrying the apple of the eye of SINTEF scientist Atle Honne; gas measurement equipment and associated software for checking astronauts’ “indoor” climate.
In a few weeks, the 59-year-old SINTEF senior scientist will sit in a control room at NASA in Houston, where he will check that everything is working properly when the equipment is installed in the International Space Station (ISS).
Tests on board the Space Station
ANITA will be tested on board the ISS for ten days. If the instrument passes its exams, the next version could become the space station’s regular air-quality monitoring system.
However, the equipment will not be switched off when the ten-day test phase is over. Since it is already installed, NASA will use it to acquire better air-quality data in the ISS, in the first instance for six months.
“Down-to earth” benefits too
The measurement system, known as ANITA, is the result of a cooperative project between SINTEF and the German company Kayser-Threde GmbH. But although Honne has been project manager on the Norwegian side since day one of the project, he is no “space freak”.
“My involvement, and SINTEF’s, is due to the fact that the measurement technology involved is also highly suitable for use on Earth. It can be used for everything from monitoring industrial processes to checking the indoor climate of submarines and other environments where such checks are important”, says Honne.
All the same, it is a feather in his cap that the system should have become part of the space adventure.
“It is the most demanding market you can image”, says Honne proudly.
Makes countermeasures possible
The idea of ANITA is to prevent astronauts in the Space Station from having to breathe in unpleasant, toxic or carcinogenic gases.
Just as on Earth, gases diffuse out of walls, furnishings and equipment. Others may come from leakages or overheating, while the human body also emits gases. ANITA will enable astronauts to adopt countermeasures in the event of leaks or failures of the air purification system.
The gas monitoring equipment already installed on board the ISS measures only a few gases frequently and rapidly. Others are checked with a reaction time measured in hours, while some can only be measured after air samples have been returned to Earth.
Rapid but sensitive
ANITA is the leading candidate to take over the measurement programme on a permanent basis.
The wholly automatic system is sensitive, recognises and indicates the concentrations of individual gases, works rapidly and can present its results without delay. It “sees” the gases by means of beams of infrared light. Honne has developed the methods that the system uses to interpret its measurement data.
Back on Earth, Honne regards an ideal working day as one during which he has helped to produce results that “improve human health and make a few companies more wealthy, while giving me some interesting work to do”.
Aase Dragland | alfa
Upcycling 'fast fashion' to reduce waste and pollution
03.04.2017 | American Chemical Society
Litter is present throughout the world’s oceans: 1,220 species affected
27.03.2017 | Alfred-Wegener-Institut, Helmholtz-Zentrum für Polar- und Meeresforschung
More and more automobile companies are focusing on body parts made of carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP). However, manufacturing and repair costs must be further reduced in order to make CFRP more economical in use. Together with the Volkswagen AG and five other partners in the project HolQueSt 3D, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) has developed laser processes for the automatic trimming, drilling and repair of three-dimensional components.
Automated manufacturing processes are the basis for ultimately establishing the series production of CFRP components. In the project HolQueSt 3D, the LZH has...
Reflecting the structure of composites found in nature and the ancient world, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have synthesized thin carbon nanotube (CNT) textiles that exhibit both high electrical conductivity and a level of toughness that is about fifty times higher than copper films, currently used in electronics.
"The structural robustness of thin metal films has significant importance for the reliable operation of smart skin and flexible electronics including...
The nearby, giant radio galaxy M87 hosts a supermassive black hole (BH) and is well-known for its bright jet dominating the spectrum over ten orders of magnitude in frequency. Due to its proximity, jet prominence, and the large black hole mass, M87 is the best laboratory for investigating the formation, acceleration, and collimation of relativistic jets. A research team led by Silke Britzen from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has found strong indication for turbulent processes connecting the accretion disk and the jet of that galaxy providing insights into the longstanding problem of the origin of astrophysical jets.
Supermassive black holes form some of the most enigmatic phenomena in astrophysics. Their enormous energy output is supposed to be generated by the...
The probability to find a certain number of photons inside a laser pulse usually corresponds to a classical distribution of independent events, the so-called...
Microprocessors based on atomically thin materials hold the promise of the evolution of traditional processors as well as new applications in the field of flexible electronics. Now, a TU Wien research team led by Thomas Müller has made a breakthrough in this field as part of an ongoing research project.
Two-dimensional materials, or 2D materials for short, are extremely versatile, although – or often more precisely because – they are made up of just one or a...
28.04.2017 | Event News
20.04.2017 | Event News
18.04.2017 | Event News
28.04.2017 | Medical Engineering
28.04.2017 | Earth Sciences
28.04.2017 | Life Sciences