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FACET, JAXA's crystal growth experiment, began onboard Kibo

Last Updated: April 16, 2009

* Dates and times are given in Japan Standard Time (JST)

FACET (Investigation on Mechanism of Faceted Cellular Array Growth)*, which is the science experiment to be performed onboard Kibo, has been started.
*Principal Investigator (PI): Dr. Yuko Inatomi (Associate Professor, Institute of Space and Astronautical Science, JAXA)

Prior to the start of this experiment, astronaut Wakata installed the FACET Cell (specimen) in the Solution Crystallization Observation Facility (SCOF) of the RYUTAI Rack in Kibo's Pressurized Module (PM) on April 3.
On April 6, the Payload Flight Control Team (PL FCT) at the User Operations Area (UOA) in the Tsukuba Space Center (TKSC) performed checkout of the experiment via telecommands.
The experiment began at 13:30 on April 9.

FACET aims to clarify the mechanism of a facet-like crystallization (a crystal with flat surfaces) by precisely observing the phenomena at the solid-liquid interfaces.

FACET experiment uses salol (phenyl salicylate) with t-butanol as a model material. Since the melt is optically transparent with a low melting point, it is suitable for in-situ observation of the facet growth. Aiming at establishing a model for the facet crystallization, the team monitors the facet crystal growth process by a microscope and interferometer while the model material crystallizes, especially focusing on changes of temperature and concentration of the melt and crystal.

FACET experiment will be performed over the next three months.

Dr. Inatomi monitoring the experiment real time at the UOA

Imagery obtained by microscope (©JAXA)

*All times are Japan Standard Time (JST)

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