SpaceX's Dragon cargo spacecraft splashed down in the Pacific Ocean today, with about 4,100 pounds of NASA cargo, science and technology demonstration samples from the International Space Station (ISS), NASA said.
A variety of technological and biological studies are returning in Dragon, including hardware from the "Made in Space Fiber Optics" payload, which demonstrated manufacturing fiber optic filaments in a microgravity environment, the US space agency said.
Designed by the company "Made in Space" and sponsored by the Center for the Advancement of Science in Space (CASIS), the investigation pulled fiber optic wire from ZBLAN, a heavy metal fluoride glass commonly used to make fiber optic glass.
Research indicates that ZBLAN fiber pulled in microgravity may not crystalize as much, giving it better optical qualities than the silica used in most fiber optic wire.
Mice from NASA's Rodent Research-6 study also will return live to Earth for additional study.
The investigation, which was conducted jointly with the US National Lab, evaluated a new drug delivery device for administering continuous low doses, which could help counteract muscle wasting and prevent the need for daily or frequent drug administration.
A tiny capsule, implanted under the skin, delivers a constant, low dose of a drug via a silicone membrane, with channels as narrow as 1/50,000 the width of a human hair.
The low-dose delivery also could help avoid the known side effects of taking high doses long-term.
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