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Newest science experiments headed to the space station

NASA via AP

SpaceX will launch its 11th resupply mission to the International Space Station (ISS) next week, but NASA has also stocked some scientific payloads on the trip. They cover a wide range of fields, encompassing everything from key medical research to interplanetary navigation.

The big one: NICER (short for Neutron star Interior Composition Explorer) is an instrument that will be attached to the ISS to help understand the structure and energy of neutron stars — the densest, fastest-spinning, and most magnetic objects in the universe. NICER science lead Zaven Arzoumanian called neutron stars "a giant atomic nucleus" because they're only about 10 miles wide but contain more than double the mass of the Sun.