NanoRacks-National Center for Earth and Space Science Education -1 (NanoRacks-NCESSE-1)
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This content was provided by Jeff Goldstein, Ph.D., and is maintained in a database by the ISS Program Science Office.
NanoRacks-National Center for Earth and Space Science Education-1 (NanoRacks-NCESSE-1) incorporates the science projects of 16 school districts from all across the United States. Students design their own experiments using flight approved fluids and materials and are flown on the Materials Diffusion Apparatus (MDA) in a NanoRacks module. The goal of this program is to allow students to experience scientific exploration through their own involvement.
Jeff Goldstein, Ph.D., National Center for Earth and Space Science Education, Capitol Heights, MD, United States
Sponsoring Space Agency
NanoRacks, LLC, Houston, TX, United States
National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)
National Laboratory Education (NLE)
ISS Expedition Duration
March 2011 - September 2011
Previous ISS Missions
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NanoRacks-National Center for Earth and Space Science Education-1 (NanoRacks-NCESSE-1) is a suite of middle school student designed experiments from 16 communities across the United States.
NanoRacks-NCESSE-1 allows student teams to design an experiment with real constraints imposed by the experimental apparatus, current knowledge, and the environment in which the experiment is conducted.
Students complete proposals for a flight opportunity, experience a science proposal review process, complete a flight safety review, and attend their own science conference.
NanoRacks-NCESSE-1 is also part of the NanoRacks DreamUP! program, which aims to stimulate student participation in low-earth orbit projects.
The Student Spaceflight Experiments Program (SSEP), launched by the National Center for Earth and Space Science Education (NCESSE) in partnership with NanoRacks, LLC, is a remarkable U.S. national Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) education initiative that gives up to 3,200 students across a community - middle and high school students (grades 5-12), and/or undergraduates at 2-year community colleges (grades 13-14) - the ability to design and propose real experiments to fly in low Earth orbit, first aboard the final flights of the Space Shuttle, and then on the International Space Station.
NanoRacks-National Center for Earth and Space Science Education-1 (NanoRacks-NCESSE-1) includes the following 16 student experiments:
Development of Prokaryotic Cell Walls in Microgravity
Shelton High School, Grade 12, Shelton, CT
The purpose of Development of Prokaryotic Cell Walls in Microgravity is to observe the effect of microgravity on the development and integrity of the prokaryotic cell wall. Bacillus Thuringiensis (soil-dwelling bacteria) is grown in microgravity and on earth for ten days. The bacterial samples are then plated on nutrient agar, and each culture is introduced to a small amount of ampicillin (antibiotic), proportional to the optical density (absorbance) of the culture, as recorded by a nanospectrometer (uses light interference to measure thickness). The samples are observed under and electron microscope.
Apples in Space
Crystal Lake Middle School, Grade 8, Broward County, FL
The goal of Apples in Space is to determine if microgravity has an effect on apple tree growth (height) and pH. Two apple seeds germinate simultaneously, one on the shuttle and one on Earth in controlled conditions. After the germination process and both seeds are back on Earth, they are planted and grown in the exact same conditions with the same water intake and sunlight. Their growth is closely recorded and compared. After they have grown a reasonable amount of time, their height is compared, as well as their pH levels.
The Effect of Microgravity on the Ability of Ethanol to Kill E. Coli
Maitland Middle School, Grade 8, Orange County, FL
The purpose of The Effect of Microgravity on the Ability of Ethanol to Kill E. Coli is to determine if ethanol is able to kill Escherichia coli (E.coli) in microgravity as well as it does in Earth's gravity. Hand sanitizers containing ethanol are good substitutes for soap and water, since water is in short supply in space environments. If this study proves that ethanol kills E.coli in microgravity, it may provide future crewmembers with a waterless way to disinfect their hands and living quarters, protect their health, and prevent or reduce infections in the space environment.
Efficiency of Microencapsulation in Microgravity as Compared to Gravity
Lincoln Hall Middle School, Grade 6, Lincolnwood, IL
Efficiency of Microencapsulation in Microgravity as Compared to Gravity examines drug particle coating thickness, size, mass, and uniformity. This experiment determines if drug particles can be coated by using a solvent and an anti-solvent. The solvent used is poly (N-vinyl-2-pyrrolidone) (PVP), and polyvinyl acetate (PVA) is dissolved into the PVP. Water with the drug particles suspended in it is added, and the water should make the PVA come out of solution. The PVA that comes out of solution can possibly make a new particle, coat the wall of the chamber, or deposit on drug particles of ciprofloxacin. The drug particles are measured, using equipment at AVEKA Group, before treatment and then after treatment in gravity and microgravity.
The Effect of Micro-gravity on the Viability of Lactobacillus GG
The Academy at Shawnee, Grades 9-11, Jefferson County, KY
The Effect of Micro-gravity on the Viability of Lactobacillus GG studies the effect of micro-gravity on the viability of Lactobacillus GG, a probiotic. Lactobacillus GG is used as a preservative to keep dairy products fresh, is present in yogurt, helps with homeostasis, and assists our body with digestion. The procedure consists of exposing Lactobacillus GG to micro-gravity and counting colonies when it returns to Earth. Understanding the viability of probiotics in microgravity can promote longer space missions without risking the health of crewmembers. In the future, probiotics may be a useful tool in promoting health for people in space.
What is the Effect of Microgravity on the Growth Rate of Murine Myoblasts?
Copper Mill Elementary School, Grade 5, Zachary, LA
What is the Effect of Microgravity on the Growth Rate of Murine Myoblasts? determines how microgravity affects the growth rate of murine myoblasts isolated from adult mice. One well of mybloasts is exposed to microgravity and one remains in Earth's gravitational pull as a control. After ten days, the myoblasts in both wells are compared in size and number.
Swimming Patterns and Development of Zebra Fish after Exposure to Microgravity
Esperanza Middle School, Grade 8, St. Mary's County, MD
As an experimental springboard for future food sources, Swimming Patterns and Development of Zebra Fish after Exposure to Microgravity tests the development of fish in microgravity conditions. If there are developmental problems in the fish, it is hypothesized that the microgravity conditions would not be a safe spawning environment for the fish. With this information multiple varieties of larger fish may be tested in the future as a means of food for the crewmembers. The information gathered from the zebra fish determined if microgravity conditions are an adequate environment for farming and developing fish.
Honey as a Preservative on Long Duration Space Flights
Harry A. Burke High School, Grade 10, Omaha, NE
On Earth, honey can last hundreds of years without spoiling, and has been used to effectively preserve various other products for decades at a time. As NASA scientists and engineers plan a future trip to Mars, one of the biggest problems is finding a way to store enough food for the crewmembers to eat on the extremely long trip. One potentially useful preservative is honey. Honey as a Preservative on Long Duration Space Flights determines if honey prevents raw foods from spoiling while in space. If honey has the same preserving powers in space that it does on Earth, it could be a very serious prospect for preserving food from going bad while on long duration space flights.
Effects of Microgravity on Lysozyme's Antibacterial Properties
Omaha North High Magnet School, Grade 12, Omaha, NE
The purpose of Effects of Microgravity on Lysozyme's Antibacterial Properties is to determine how microgravity affects lysozyme's antibacterial properties. Lysozyme is an enzyme that occurs naturally in secretions such as tears, saliva, mucus, and human milk. It is also found in plant and animal tissues, such as egg whites. Lyzosyme protects against Salmonella, E. coli, and Pseudomonas, thus it is a crucial part of the natural immune system. If lysozyme's antibacterial properties are decreased under microgravity, then humans need a different form of protection in the secretions listed above. If the properties are increased, then lysozyme could be used to combat stronger forms of bacteria.
Does the Radiation exposure effect seed germination without the protection of the ozone layer?
Tse' Bit'Ai Middle School, Grade 8, Shiprock, NM
In New Mexico, plants and seeds are exposed to such a small amount of natural radiation that it wouldn't have any effect on their germination process. Does the Radiation exposure effect seed germination without the protection of the ozone layer? determines if ionizing radiation at high levels causes a decrease or increase in sprouting and speeds up or slow down seedling growth of the seeds. A Geiger counter is in place to verify the radiation level reading to determine a difference in space and Earth.
The Development of Minnow Fish Eggs in Space
Milton Terrace South Elementary School, Grade5, Ballston Spa, NY
The Development of Minnow Fish Eggs in Space studies how a lack of gravity effects the development of Minnow fish eggs. First, materials are gathered and placed in a test tube. Then, the test tube is sent in a chamber to space. After, results are calculated and graphed.
Brine Shrimp Development
Mendenhall Middle School, Grades 6-8, Greensboro, NC
Brine Shrimp are a very well known and studied organism. Brine Shrimp Development examines if growth rate and characteristics are the same in microgravity. In this experiment, changes in the development of the brine shrimp are observed.
Urokinase Protein Crystal Growth in Microgravity
Jackson Middle School, Grade 7, Portland, OR
Urokinase Protein Crystal Growth in Microgravity grows urokinase protein crystals for researchers to determine more about treatments for cancers. This is of interest because cancer affects many people, including a classmate who is dying of brain cancer and only has a few more months to live. It is our hope that something new is learned from the experiment to help others suffering from cancer.
The Effect of Microgravity on Biofilm Formation by E. coli on Polystyrene Particles
El Paso Community College Transmountain Campus and Transmountain Early College High School, Grade 11, El Paso, TX
Bacterial biofilms are communities of bacteria that surround themselves with a slime-like substance, creating a potent shield that makes them resistant to a variety of environmental factors including antimicrobial agents. The Effect of Microgravity on Biofilm Formation by E. coli on Polystyrene Particles determines if biofilm formation, by Escherichia coli K-12 on polystyrene plastic particles, is influenced by microgravity conditions. Escherichia coli is excreted in the feces of humans and animals. Plastic materials are used in a variety of objects on earth and in space including water purification systems and wastewater treatment plant components. Because of this, it is very important to determine the conditions that influence biofilm formation. Biofilm formation is analyzed using a Hitachi TM100 Scanning Electron Microscope at El Paso Community College.
Microgravity's effects on morphogens in common species
Hillcrest High School, Grade 11, Midvale, UT
Microgravity's effects on morphogens (signaling molecule) in common species aims to determine the effect of microgravity on the diffusion of activin (protein comples that enhances follicle-stimulating hormone synthesis and secretion) in Xenopus laevis (African clawed frog). By subjecting the developing Xenopus laevis eggs to microgravity, the developmental abnormalities that are produced by disruptions in the diffusion of activin are observed. The effects microgravity has on morphogens and the development of animals is shown. Activin is critical in the embryonic stage of development, as it is a mesoderm-inducing (middle germ cell layer of embryo) factor. This experiment aims to determine the diffusion of morphogens and whether or not microgravity can help change the way that species are developed. If it is determined that morphogens are affected by microgravity, this knowledge can be used to track abnormal mesodermal developments on earth giving scientists the ability to alter development.
How does spaceflight alter mutation rate, growth rate, rate of plasmid uptake, and ability to withstand subsequent stressors in a bacterial strain?
Ballard High School, Grades 10-12, Seattle, WA
How does spaceflight alter mutation rate, growth rate, rate of plasmid uptake, and ability to withstand subsequent stressors in a bacterial strain studies how being in space affects bacteria. The experiment seeks to understand how bacteria behave differently while in space and how bacteria might behave differently once they return to Earth when compared the same strain of bacteria from a line that has not experienced space flight. Previous experiments show that bacteria grown in space experience increased growth, a reduced lag phase (period in which bacteria adapt themselves to growth conditions), and a higher final cell population. These characteristics have been attributed to the microgravity effect in space, as similar growth patterns were seen in bacteria grown in microgravity simulators. Preliminary experiments growing E. coli in high and low gravity simulators show that the bacteria had higher cell counts when grown in the low-gravity simulator, and lower cell counts when grown in high-gravity simulators when compared to controls grown in Earth gravity. As space flight does indeed impact the function of bacteria, it is reasonable to assume that additional differences between bacteria grown on Earth and in space will be found.
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This investigation is a part of a series of investigations to be conducted on board the ISS to provide the foundation for use of the ISS as a National Laboratory following assembly complete.
The long-term goal of this project is to enhance technological, industrial, and educational growth for the benefit of people on Earth.
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The experiment is activated by rotating a handle into the "ON-ORBIT" position. For the deactivation, the same handle is moved to the "RETURN" position.
The MDA requires no further crew attention other that activation and deactivation.
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NanoRacks-National Center for Earth and Space Science Education-1 (NanoRacks-NCESSE-1)
is a re-flight of the Materials Dispersion Apparatus used for biological mixing experiments. Image courtesy of NanoRacks, LLC.
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