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AIM (Artery In Microgravity): An ICE Cubes Mission by University Students

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conference contribution
posted on 2020-07-08, 10:37 authored by Olivia Drayson, Nicolò Bernardini, Amina Bakkali Abderrahaman, Alessandro Cipolletta, Luca Cerquetani, Blanca Dalfo Ferrer, Federico Falcone, Stefano Gabetti, Michele Genoni, Elena Torta, Federica Vagnone, Manuela Aguzzi, Chloé Audas, Matthieu Compin, Jean-Jacques Favier, Stéphanie Lizy-Destrez, Umberto Morbiducci
The ICE Cubes Facility is a capable experiment platform on board the Columbus Module of the International Space Station that offers flexibility to host many different experiments. The ICE Cubes Facility is suited for any scientific research and technological demonstrator that requires the study of the effects of microgravity and radiation exposure in a pressurised volume. The ICE Cube Service is also open to different schooling levels (primary, secondary, universities) and to different STEAM curricula and offers University students (Master and PhD) the opportunity to design, develop, test and operate a real experiment for the ISS under the supervision of experts from the ICE Cube Service.The Artery In Microgravity (AIM) project is a 2U ICE Cubes experiment cube and the first experiment to be selected for the Orbit Your Thesis! programme of ESA Academy. The cube is expected to be launched on SpaceX-20 in early 2020. The project is being developed by an international group of students from ISAE-Supaero and Politecnico di Torino. The experiment will investigate coronary heart disease, the most common form of cardiovascular disease and the cause of approximately 9 million deaths every year. In view of the very long duration missions to come, such diseases may also affect healthy astronauts in space. The AIM cube is a test-bench for investigating haemodynamics in microgravity and will study the effects of microgravity on blood flow in the coronary artery with and without an implanted coronary stent and the impact of augmented radiation levels on metallic ion release from coronary stents.The experimental setup consists of a closed hydraulic loop containing two models of a coronary artery in series. An electric pump and reservoir will control the flow of a blood-mimicking fluid through the system. One model of the coronary artery will contain a coronary stent. The pressure of the fluid will be studied along its path using a series of pressure sensors and a camera will visualise the flow. Ground tests will be conducted concurrently in order to perform a comparison between the on-ground behaviour and the behaviour in microgravity.The paper will showcase the design and development of the AIM experiment cube, the results of testing and the educational applications of theICE Cubes Facility. The full data and results will be available after the completion of the mission which is expected to be between March and June 2020.



Proceedings of the 3rd Symposium on Space Educational Activities, 2019, pp. 109-113


3rd Symposium on Space Educational Activities, September 16-18, 2019, Leicester, United Kingdom


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Symposium organised by: University of Leicester, UK Students for the Exploration & Development of Space, National Space Academy, ESA Education Office


Nigel Bannister, Áine O’Brien, Alexander Kinnaird

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University of Leicester, UK

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