Automated protein crystal growth facility
- Donald, Stacey
- JAN 1, 1994.
- Physical Description:
- 1 electronic document
- Restrictions on Access:
- Unclassified, Unlimited, Publicly available. and Free-to-read Unrestricted online access
- A customer for the protein crystal growth facility fills the specially designed chamber with the correct solutions, fills the syringes with their quenching solutions, and submits the data needed for the proper growth of their crystal. To make sure that the chambers and syringes are filled correctly, a NASA representative may assist the customer. The data needed is the approximate growth time, the growth temperature, and the desired crystal size, but this data can be changed anytime from the ground, if needed. The chambers are gathered and placed into numbered slots in special drawers. Then, data is entered into a computer for each of the chambers. Technicians map out when each chamber's growth should be activated so that all of the chambers have enough time to grow. All of this data is up-linked to the space station when the previous growth session is over. Anti-vibrational containers need to be constructed for the high forces encountered during the lift off and the landing of the space shuttle, and though our team has not designed these containers, we do not feel that there is any reason why a suitable one could not be made. When the shuttle reaches the space station, an astronaut removes a drawer of quenched chambers from the growth facility and inserts a drawer of new chambers. All twelve of the drawers can be replaced in this fashion. The optical disks can also be removed this way. The old drawers are stored for the trip back to earth. Once inside the growth facility, a chamber is removed by the robot and placed in one of 144 active sites at a time previously picked by a technician. Growth begins when the chamber is inserted into an active site. Then, the sensing system starts to determine the size of the protein crystal. All during the crystal's growth, the customer can view the crystal and read all of the crystal's data, such as growth rate and crystal size. When the sensing system determines that the crystal has reached the predetermined size, the robot is told to pick up a syringe filled with the correct quenchant solution and inject it into the chamber to stop the crystal growth. The chamber is then removed from the active site and placed into its original storage slot. Another chamber is then placed into the active site and the process is repeated in all of the active sites until all of the chambers have complted their growth. After ninety days (the scheduled time between shuttle visits), the crystal growth is completed, and the old drawers are replaced with new ones. Once the customer extracts the crystals, the chambers are retrieved for future customers.
- NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS) Collection.
- Document ID: 19950019886., Accession ID: 95N26306., and The 1994 NASA(USRA)ADP Design Projects 32 p(SEE N95-26304 08-80); The 1994 NASA(USRA)A.
- No Copyright.
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