To conduct a scientific experiment on a single orbital laboratory, you need to spend a lot of money and effort. Therefore, the use of ICE Cubes is considered to be the quick and inexpensive response of the European Space Agency (ESA) to various questions in space science.
ICE Cubes is a facility in which various modular experiments are placed on the International Space Station (ISS). In a block of 10 x 10 x 10 cm (as in the photo) is an experiment developed by the International Space University (Strasbourg, France).
Experiments are sent to the ISS with regular delivery missions. Once in space, these cubes are connected to the device by an astronaut, and science begins! A specialized control center in Belgium provides scientists with round-the-clock access to experimental data through a secure remote entrance. Information from the laboratory of the Columbus module can be monitored at any time of the day, and researchers are able to send commands to change the parameters or perform the next step in the experiment. The ICE Cubes model is part of a growing commercial trend in space exploration. Flights to the moon and beyond are planned not only in collaboration with international space agencies, but also with private companies. This allows you to significantly reduce launch prices and increase the number of missions.
The first cubes last year were installed by astronaut Alexander Gerst. They included an experiment to study methane-creating organisms and their behavior in the space environment. The first experiments emphasize the versatility of a simpler, faster and more accessible research method in weightlessness. ICE Cubes allow you to conduct experiments in space for more than 4 months with the ability to deliver samples back to Earth.