Astro chats: materials science in space


Join ESA astronaut Matthias Maurer and @NASA astronaut Kayla Barron as they discuss electron microscopes, antimicrobial spoons and other materials science topics aboard the International Space Station.

Matthias starts by explaining an experiment, which saw crew members eat meals with special spoons made of stainless steel and copper. These spoons are part of an investigation into the antimicrobial properties of laser-structured surfaces.

Principal investigators Ralf Möller of the Institute of Space Medicine, @DLR, Cologne and Frank Mücklich from the Institute for Functional Materials, @Universität des Saarlandes have been jointly investigating the antimicrobial effect of laser-structured surfaces for use during space travel since 2017. Though the antimicrobial effect of some metals has been known for a while, modern laser surface structuring is thought to result in up to 80% less bacterial adhesion and could significantly reduce the transmission of harmful germs both in space and here on Earth.

Following this discussion, the astronauts consider potential applications of a scanning electron microscope that is currently in the technology demonstration phase. This could be used to investigate small parts and biological samples aboard the Station.

Matthias and Kayla flew to the Station together in November 2021 as mission specialists for Crew-3. They are expected to return to Earth with NASA colleagues Raja Chari and Thomas Marshburn in April 2022 after approximately six months of science and operations in orbit.

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  1. … voll schön euch da oben zu sehen… das schubfach sah ganzschön alt aus bei dem move… cool!!! habt ihr schonmal n wettrennen gemacht nur mit pusten als antrieb? um kurven is das bestimmt fetzig… lg

  2. I really like this format.
    In general, I think that conversations between astronauts themselves are very interesting for viewers with an already broader knowledge about space, or in particular the ISS and its mission. This way, a more detailed and personal/genuine perspective is communicated, which in turn, i think, is also more attractive to viewers with a less profound knowledge about astronauts in space.

    That roll in the end haha. Nice Flex xD

  3. Dear esa,
    latest news, what the hell some people of the esa management are talking about (I know the political pressure, too). But. I mean in the one Hand the ariane 6 is nice in the other hand reusability would be important. In my opinion the ariane 6 is 20 years late (just upgraded ariane 5 engine from the 1980's) but still good for military and expensive loads business cases/political needs like the vulcanrocket(ULA) I appreciate that. BUT we europeans launch Galileo and most EU launches were launched with sojus (russian) rockets, so what the hell… I want to say we all see a massive push at the small launcher market. We need own european production know how. (at the moment it is evolving the reusables can carry more and more). Why some management people think they know everything. Please let one time some Engineers speak/reflect about all that problems maybe about the hard way of human launchers and all the stuff some of the esa economical management people sleep…
    I know the beginning of the Ariane (massive powerful) 6 comes from a (business case) time where geostationary orbits (high price loads + high ensurance values) + (very important) it comes from a time were the costs of any global launchers were very expensive scaled. (why forbid thinkings, why we not bring the ariane 5 in the newest up to date reusable shape / for examle the Vinci engine why use for ariane 6 and not use for ariane 5 and so on and so on….)
    But is that the excuse for cancel reusability forever???

    WARNING: We, the european people loose trust & the ability for up to date technology, we are going to have to act.

    I love the esa and I would really love to see the best future for the european Idea.

  4. I was wondering if you listen to music on the ISS ? And how ? And if you play instruments in an environment without gravity, would the instrument sound different ?

  5. Thank you Matthias for making a video about Mochii. We began this project in 2015. We are very fortunate to have you on-orbit for the installation and check out.

  6. What I love about conversations like this with Matthias is that when you ask him to talk about something he is really excited about, he just lights up like a kid with ice cream. He's usually a little reserved, I don't really know the right way to describe it, he's just very German, but when you ask him to talk about something he loves, you can just see the lightbulb go on. ESA, please do these kinds of videos more.

    I wonder what closing trick will be the popular go-to on the moon. A flip is obviously gonna be a little difficult. Maybe some sort of hop?

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