Station Science Top News: Nov. 17, 2022
As a part of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency’s Micro Monitor study, researchers developed a new framework to monitor and identify microbes in potable water collected from the International Space Station. The use of this procedure on deep space missions would allow crew members to continuously monitor water quality and detect bacterial outbreaks in real time, reducing the risk of infection and maintaining crew health.
The methodology takes advantage of fluorescence naturally produced by cellular flavins to estimate the bacterial biocount. The process also uses the MinION nanopore DNA sequencer to rapidly identify the dominant species present.
Researchers determined that red light has a positive impact on plant photoactivation, an important part of photosynthesis, in space. Additionally, while Mars gravity induced a normal growth response from plant roots, lunar gravity can trigger more severe genetic changes. Understanding how different plant species respond to altered gravity can help scientists grow healthy plants to provide food for crews on spacecraft, the Moon, and Mars.
Arabidopsis thaliana seedlings were grown in a centrifuge aboard the space station to simulate Martian and lunar gravity during NASA’s Seedling Growth 1, 2, and 3 experiments. Results showed that red light counteracted stress responses and increased the response of genes for cell proliferation, cell growth, and auxin (a growth hormone) transport.
View of astronaut Jack Fischer replacing the European Modular Cultivation System experiment containers (ECs) with new ECs prepared for the Seedling Growth 3 experiment. Credits: NASA
The Artemis I mission lifted off on its trip to the Moon! The space station has been an important test bed for the technologies and science powering Artemis.
Watch the station science portion of the Artemis launch broadcast below (about 42 minutes after launch).