In Brief

NASA Discusses Science Experiments on Upcoming SpaceX Cargo Flight: Listen Live Today @ 1 p.m. ET

Parmitano's Water Filled Spacesuit Helmet
Water fills the empty spacesuit helmet of Italian astronaut Luca Parmitano in an Aug. 27, 2013 test of the faulty spacewalking gear, which forced NASA to abort a July 16 spacewalk for safety reasons. The water leak confirmation will help NASA engineers devise repair methods for the spacesuit. (Image credit: NASA TV)

NASA is hosting a media teleconference today at 1 p.m. EDT (1700 GMT) to discuss the science experiments headed to the International Space Station on Friday, April 8, aboard a SpaceX Dragon cargo craft. Audio of the teleconference will stream live online, or you can listen in the window below, courtesy of NASA.

Among the science experiments headed toward the orbiting laboratory is the Bigelow Expandable Activity Module (BEAM), an inflatable room that will give the astronuauts some extra space to stretch out in, and test "general operations of expandable habitats in space," according to a statement from NASA. The SpaceX cargo vehicle is scheduled to launch at 4:43 p.m. EDT (2043 GMT) from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station on April 8.

Briefing participants will include: 

  • Julie Robinson, chief scientist for the International Space Station Program at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston, will provide an overview of the more than 250 valuable science investigations that will take place during Expeditions 47 and 48. 
  • Rajib Dasgupta, NASA project and technical integration manager for the  (BEAM) at Johnson, and Lisa Kauke, BEAM deputy program manager at Bigelow Aerospace in Las Vegas, will discuss BEAM -- a technology demonstration to study the radiation protection, thermal performance and general operations of expandable habitats in space.
  • Kenneth Savin, Kristofer Gonzalez-DeWhitt, Michael Hickey and Rosamund Smith, of Eli Lilly and Company in Indianapolis, will discuss life science investigations focusing on musculoskeletal changes in space, which could provide insight into muscle-wasting diseases on Earth, and protein crystallization in microgravity, which could enhance the development and potency of therapeutic drugs.
  • Kasthuri Venkateswaran, principal investigator for Microbial Observatory-1 at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, will discuss tracking and monitoring changes to microbial flora on the space station over time, which could help us understand how such microbes could affect crew health during future long duration missions.
  • Gioia Massa, principal investigator for Veg-03 at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida, will explain how the Veggie plant growth facility will cultivate cabbage as part of the Pick-and-Eat Salad initiative to develop a sustainable food supplement for long-duration spaceflight.
  • Clay Wang, principal investigator for Micro-10 at the University of Southern California School Of Pharmacy in Los Angeles, will discuss this study of fungi in space for the purpose of potentially developing new medicine for use both in space and on Earth.
  • Anna-Sophia Boguraev, student researcher, and Scott Copeland, ISS Research, Systems & Specialty Engineering manager for The Boeing Company in Pasadena, Texas, will discuss Genes in Space-1, a student-designed experiment to test whether the polymerase chain reaction -- a fast and relatively inexpensive technique that can amplify or “photocopy” small segments of DNA -- could be used to study DNA alterations that astronauts experience during spaceflight.

Follow us @SpacedotcomFacebook and Google.

Join our Space Forums to keep talking space on the latest missions, night sky and more! And if you have a news tip, correction or comment, let us know at:

Miriam Kramer
Staff Writer

Miriam Kramer joined as a Staff Writer in December 2012. Since then, she has floated in weightlessness on a zero-gravity flight, felt the pull of 4-Gs in a trainer aircraft and watched rockets soar into space from Florida and Virginia. She also served as's lead space entertainment reporter, and enjoys all aspects of space news, astronomy and commercial spaceflight.  Miriam has also presented space stories during live interviews with Fox News and other TV and radio outlets. She originally hails from Knoxville, Tennessee where she and her family would take trips to dark spots on the outskirts of town to watch meteor showers every year. She loves to travel and one day hopes to see the northern lights in person. Miriam is currently a space reporter with Axios, writing the Axios Space newsletter. You can follow Miriam on Twitter.