Glenn Research Center- Intravenous Fluid Generation Mini (IVGenMini) Research Project Support
January 24, 2022- May 13, 2022
Final Goals of your project/s:
International Space Station (ISS) resupply missions are critical for the health and vitality of astronauts aboard the ISS. Approximately 31,000 to 37,000 pounds of cargo are delivered to the ISS annually through resupply missions1, which is made possible due to the ISS’s proximity to the Earth compared to other terrestrial bodies. While this delivery mechanism works well for a body orbiting only 248 miles from the Earth’s surface, it is not practical for future long-duration space flight missions to the Moon or Mars.
Stabilizing and treating patients on exploration missions will depend on access to needed medical consumables. 25% of the 400 identified medical conditions that may occur and demand treatment during space missions will require intravenous (IV) fluid treatment, defining IV fluid as an essential consumable to maintain astronaut homeostasis. The Intravenous Fluid Generation for Exploration Missions (IVGEN and IVGEN Mini) experiments were designed by NASA to demonstrate a water sterilization and pharmaceutical salt mixing system that produces 0.9% normal saline IV fluid standardized by the United States Pharmacopeia (USP) and provide a continuous supply of IV fluid without the need for resupply missions. The driving concept for IVGEN Mini is to develop a miniaturized system that produces sterile water from ISS potable water and converts it to Normal Saline (NS) for crews of missions beyond low-earth orbit, long-duration lunar orbit, lunar surface operations, and missions to Mars. The purpose of this Technology Demonstration is to raise the filtration and mixing technology’s Technology Readiness Level (TRL) of the original IVGEN technology to a level, sufficiently tested and verified, that it can be utilized effectively by a crew of astronauts to produce IV fluids when needed with a minimum of either physical resources or technical support.
To aid IVGEN Mini project scientists, research, literature reviews, and surveys were conducted on fluid mixing techniques and studying past efforts of IV fluid usage in extreme environments. The goal of the internship was to write a paper that detailed the research, writing process, and critical findings found during the Spring 2022 internship session. During the internship session, I also participated in two separate projects, using an image processing software to measure contact angles and the International Astronomical Search Collaboration (IASC) Campaign.
Describe what you did during the internship:
As an intern working on the IVGEN Mini project, I conducted research, wrote 11 literature reviews, and surveyed several people to support IVGEN Mini project scientists in fluid mixing techniques and studying past efforts of IV fluid usage in extreme environments. I wrote a research paper detailing critical findings during the Spring 2022 internship session.
Two other activities were completed during the internship. The first task was to measure the contact angle of a water droplet on a Femtosecond laser surface processing (FLSP) Silver superhydrophobic surface that “decays” over time into superhydrophyllic due to loss of silver ions. The static, advancing, and receding contact angle of a water droplet were measured via the sessile drop and needle methods from laboratory videos and images taken from my mentor.
The last activity I participated in was The International Astronomical Search Collaboration (IASC). IASC is a citizen science program that provides astronomical data to citizen scientists worldwide. Citizen scientists can make original astronomical discoveries using Astrometrica, an interactive software tool for scientific grade astrometric data reduction of CCD images. IASC’s primary focus is “campaigns,” teams of two or more that participate in a month-long event where teams search for asteroids.
Did you achieve your goals? What were the results?:
Yes, I achieved the goal of writing an all-inclusive paper detailing past and future plans for IV fluid generation in space. The paper is in the process of being edited, and it will eventually be submitted as a NASA Technical Report (TM) to the NTRS database. This process will take place over the summer 2022 internship session.
As for the contact angle measurements, the contact angle of a water droplet on an FLSP silver surface was measured to be 145.6 degrees, indicating that the FLSP silver has a hydrophobic surface. For hydrophobic materials, the contact angle is always greater than 90 degrees, and it can be as high as 150 degrees. Hydrophilic surfaces have a contact angle value of fewer than 90 degrees. The contact angle of a superhydrophobic surface exceeds 150 degrees. While the contact angle for the FLSP silver surface is close to 150 degrees, it does not quite meet the superhydrophobic requirement. A decrease in contact angle was shown from the data, implying increased FLSP silver surface wettability. This phenomenon can be explained as a result of laser processing. Silver ions (Ag+) present on the surface of the material sample are polar. The polarity of the molecules attracts water, thus increasing the surface’s wettability. Over time, oxygen from the air reacts with the silver ions, and the surface becomes less polar and behaves with decreased wettability.
For the IASC campaign, my intern team made three preliminary asteroid discoveries in total. Preliminary discoveries that appear to be valid detections have not been fully verified by the Minor Planet Center and do not necessarily represent an asteroid discovery by the IASC citizen scientist. The next verification step is a Provisional Detection. A Preliminary Detection will upgrade to a Provisional Detection once verified by the Minor Planet Center. Provisional detections are recognized as asteroid discoveries and must undergo further observations over a three to five-year period to verify the asteroid’s orbit and consolidate any additional object measurements.
Describe positive lessons learned:
I learned a lot from my experience as an intern. The main skill I learned was how to independently conduct research and organize the research in a way that tells a story. I also learned how to effectively manage my time to finish a project in a given period.
Describe negative lessons learned:
My experience as an intern was largely positive, and I am very grateful for the opportunity. However, I did struggle a bit working in a virtual environment. The main lesson I learned was how to manage my work-life balance, which is difficult to do when your home becomes your work environment.