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NASA Glenn Research Center Upgrades Its In-Space Automated Microscope

Light Microscopy Module/ NASA Glenn Research Center

NASA Glenn is replacing scanners, cameras and  other components on its Light Microscopy Module, which is a kind of automated microscope,  so it’s capable of 3D imaging. 

Among other things, the module will used in experiments for  Procter Gamble. The company is trying to create better stabilizers for products like Tide. The detergent is mostly stabilized with water, which adds weight and affects everything from product packaging to transport, says NASA Glenn scientist Ron Sicker.

“It takes more fuel to take around, it takes more space on the shelf, more plastic to the landfill. By understanding the stabilizers, the product becomes more green and lasts longer," he says.

The microscope improvements will take about two months to install, Sicker says. Glenn also has an experiment looking at combustion in microgravity on board as well. The payload is slated to liftoff from Kennedy Space Center in Florida on board a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket Thursday evening.