If you could move your work environment from earth to space, what would that look like?
That’s what NASA, the International Space Station (ISS) U.S. National Lab representatives and Astronaut Stephanie Wilson shared with 3Mers at a Tech Forum event on April 23 at 3M Austin Center.
“We have a laboratory in space, similar to what you have on ground,” said Pete Hasbrook, manager of the International Space Station Program’s Science Office at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston. The ISS Program Science Office (PSO) works with scientific working groups to optimize the selection and execution of research on the International Space Station, which has conducted over 2,300 experiments since the inception of the ISS over 20 year ago. Innovative experiments aboard the ISS are conducted in the areas of biology and biotechnology, human health, space and physical science and technology.
Etop Esen, commercial innovation manager in the ISS National Lab’s Strategy and Business Development group also explained how the ISS National Lab works with businesses on groundbreaking science, technology and innovation and how that work can address an organization’s product challenges, whether it’s trying to find out how to increase the shelf life of shampoo or make tires for extreme conditions.
NASA astronaut Stephanie Wilson shared with 3Mers her unique insight from living and working in space, including how she prepared for her missions through safety and survival training, geology training and virtual reality training. A veteran of three space shuttle missions, Wilson has logged more than 42 days in space, and has served as a member of the Astronaut Selection Board.
Following the presentations, NASA and the ISS U.S. National Lab representatives met in breakout brainstorming sessions with employees of 3M Electronics Materials Solutions Division, 3M Aerospace and Automotive Solutions Division and 3M Electrical Markets Division.
“We’re a world-class materials science company and NASA has some world-class materials science problems,” said Mike Irwin, technical director for Electrical Markets Division (EMD). “When you consider the environment NASA’s astronauts are exposed to and the temperature extremes they face, there’s no question our paths cross in the area of materials science.”
Employees were also able to tour the Destination Station Driven to Explore mobile exhibit that was parked in front of the 3M Innovation Center in Austin. 3M also invited local schoolchildren including 30 home schoolers from pre-K to high school-aged students, and those from a nearby high school to tour NASA’s Destination Station Driven to Explore mobile exhibit.