NanoRacks-National Center for Earth and Space Science Education -2 (NanoRacks-NCESSE-2) - 09.17.14

Overview | Description | Applications | Operations | Results | Publications | Imagery
ISS Science for Everyone

Science Objectives for Everyone
NanoRacks-National Center for Earth and Space Science Education-2 (NanoRacks-NCESSE-2) is a commercial program which incorporates the science projects of 11 schools 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.

Science Results for Everyone
Information Pending



The following content was provided by Jeff Goldstein, Ph.D., and is maintained in a database by the ISS Program Science Office.

Experiment Details

OpNom

Principal Investigator(s)

  • Jeff Goldstein, Ph.D., National Center for Earth and Space Science Education, Capitol Heights, MD, United States

  • Co-Investigator(s)/Collaborator(s)
    Information Pending
    Developer(s)
    NanoRacks, LLC, Webster, TX, United States

    Sponsoring Space Agency
    National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)

    Sponsoring Organization
    National Laboratory Education (NLE)

    Research Benefits
    Information Pending

    ISS Expedition Duration
    March 2011 - September 2011

    Expeditions Assigned
    27/28

    Previous ISS Missions
    Information Pending

    ^ back to top



    Experiment Description

    Research Overview

    • NanoRacks-National Center for Earth and Space Science Education-2 (NanoRacks-NCESSE-2) is a suite of middle school student designed experiments from 11 communities across the United States.


    • NanoRacks-NCESSE-2 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-2 is also part of the NanoRacks DreamUP! program, which aims to stimulate commercial student participation in low-earth orbit projects.

    Description
    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 commercial 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-2 (NanoRacks-NCESSE-2) includes the following 11 student experiments:

    • Microgravity Yeast Experiment
      Parkridge Elementary School, Grade 7, Peoria, AZ
      Microgravity Yeast Experiment tests the effect of zero gravity on yeast’s microscopic structure. Yeast rises because the yeast eats away the sugars, giving off carbon dioxide bubbles and expanding the yeast. In space, it is hypothesized that the yeast will have a different cell structure due to microgravity. The goal is to find a solution to keep crewmembers healthy in space by getting the grains they need. This benefits future space missions because crewmembers will be able to stay in space for longer periods of time.


    • Microgravity’s Effect on Tomato Growth
      Annie Fisher STEM Magnet School, Grade 8, Hartford, CT
      The rationale for Microgravity’s Effect on Tomato Growth is to establish the effects of microgravity on the development of a tomato plant. Currently, as crewmembers go out to observe our universe, they have to stay a limited time due to their inability to obtain food while there (they have to bring a fixed food supply from Earth.) Tomato plants provide vitamins and minerals that are essential to human health, not to mention, they help prevent life threatening illnesses. In this experiment, tomato plants grow in outer space using tomato seeds, soil, and water, which are fused together in an MDA Type 2-Prime slot of a mini-lab. It is believed that the process that takes place in order for a tomato plant to develop on Earth varies as it is attempted in space due to the fact that the two environments are almost opposites.


    • Will Microgravity Effect the Development of Goldfish?
      Skinner West Classical, Fine Arts, & Technology School, Grade 5, Chicago, IL
      The purpose of Will Microgravity Effect the Development of Goldfish? is to investigate whether or not microgravity changes the development of a fertilized goldfish egg. Fertilized eggs are collected from a tank and placed in a vial with de-chlorinated tap water. When the eggs come back from space, they are compared to eggs developing on the ground. This experiment provides insight to whether or not development is different in space.


    • All Mixed Up (Based on Gause’s 1932 Experiment): The Effect of Microgravity on the Interaction of Paramecium bursaria and Paramecium caudatum in a Mixed Culture, using Yeast and Bacteria as a Food Source
      Avicenna Academy, Grades 4-6, Life Learning Cooperative, Grades 4-12, Avicenna Academy, Crown Point, IN
      All Mixed Up (Based on Gause’s 1932 Experiment): The Effect of Microgravity on the Interaction of Paramecium bursaria and Paramecium caudatum in a Mixed Culture, using Yeast and Bacteria as a Food Source tests the effect of microgravity on the interaction of two types of paramecia: P. bursaria and P. caudatum, using yeast and bacteria as a food source. In the 1930s, a scientist named Georgyi Gause did a study on the same interaction. Gause discovered that on Earth, with gravity, both species survived. That was not the case when he tested two different species of paramecia together: P. aurelia and P. caudatum. Gause found out that the reason that both species survived is because they ate different food. Even though P. bursaria and P. caudatum both eat yeast and bacteria, when they are grown together in gravity, they chose to eat only one. P. bursaria ate yeast cells that were in the bottom of the test tube and P. caudatum ate bacteria that were floating higher up in the test tube. Both species were able to live because they did not live in the same niche, or area eating the same food supply.


    • How Does Microgravity Affect the Maximum Cell Size of Tardigrades?
      Ridge View High School, Grades 9-11, Galva-Holstein, IA
      The purpose of How Does Microgravity Affect the Maximum Cell Size of Tardigrades? is to see how microgravity affects the cell size of tardigrades (microscopic, water-dwelling eight-legged animals), commonly referred to as “water bears”. This study sends a group of tardigrades and sufficient food supply for them to feast upon. Any significant growth difference between the microgravity specimens and earth bound specimens is detected. Any cell size difference supports the idea of microgravity having some effect on the cells.


    • Physiological effects of microgravity on germination and growth of Arabidopsis thaliana
      Henry E. Lackey High School, Grades 9-12, Charles County, MD
      Physiological effects of microgravity on germination and growth of Arabidopsis thaliana (A. thaliana) investigates the effect of microgravity on the growth of plant structures during seed germination. The team believes plant growth in a microgravity environment results in significant changes to the majority of plant structures of the A. thaliana model organism. The set of seeds exposed to a microgravity environment are compared to a set of seeds grown on Earth as a control group using a scanning electron microscope. If this mission is successful, individual genes of the wild type A. thaliana could then be mutated in order to determine the specific effect of microgravity on expression of individual gene sequences. Because A. thaliana has been extensively experimented with, a pattern could emerge when examining the relationship between mutated seeds germinated in space and mutated seeds germinated on Earth.


    • The Growth Rate of Lactobacillus acidophilus in Microgravity
      Montachusett Regional Vocational Technical High School, Grade 11, Fitchburg, MA
      The Growth Rate of Lactobacillus acidophilus in Microgravity tests and determines whether Lactobacillus acidophilus reproduce at a more accelerated rate on earth or in microgravity. The bacteria Lactobacillus acidophilus is the main cause of dental caries (tooth decay). The bacteria combine with the proteins in the oral cavity which form a substance called plaque. Once the bacteria complete their feeding stage on the remains of food in the mouth they excrete lactic acid which dissolve the calcium and enamel on the teeth in the mouth. This process results in tooth decay. Lactobacillus acidophilus is commonly found in the decayed tooth. The reason behind this is due to the fact that the outer enamel structure has been eroded away. Once the Lactobacillus settles in the dentin it accelerates the decaying process drastically. If gone untreated this could lead to the death of the nerve and blood vessels in the tooth.


    • Effects of Microgravity on Goodstreak Wheat
      Potter-Dix Schools, Grades 6-12, Potter and Dix, NE
      About 75 percent of grain products in the US are made from wheat. Nebraska ranks sixth in the United States for winter wheat production. The wheat chosen for this experiment is Goodstreak, a hard red winter wheat (Triticum aestivum L.), developed cooperatively by the Nebraska Agricultural Experiment Station and the USDA-ARS. The purpose of Effects of Microgravity on Goodstreak Wheat is to determine if microgravity improves Goodstreak’s germination, root development and shoot growth. Germination rate, root development and shoot growth is recorded and compared with wheat germinated in Western Nebraska.


    • The Effects of Microgravity on Oil Production in Salt-stressed Chlamydomonas reinhardtii
      LPS Science Focus Program, Grade 11-12, Lincoln, NE
      Chlamydymonas reinhardtii (C. reinhardtii)
      (single celled green alga) responds to saline stress with an increased production of oil. The stress response to high saline is known for normal gravity but has not been studied under microgravity conditions. Does the stress response of C. reinhardtii growing in microgravity differ from the stress response of C. reinhardtii grown in normal gravity when it is stressed with 100mM saline? The oil produced in microgravity is compared with the oil produced in an identical colony in terrestrial gravity. To compare both, they are dyed with nile red when the sample returns back from space. This makes the lipids fluorescent, and under a microscope the differences in illumination are observed.


    • Effects of Microgravity on Osteoblast Specialization and Bone Growth
      Bridgewater Raritan High School, Grades 11-12, Bridgewater-Raritan, NJ
      Effects of Microgravity on Osteoblast Specialization and Bone Growth explores the possible solutions to the bone loss problem in space. After spending extended periods of time in space, microgravity lessens the need for bone support. In an effort to be as efficient as possible, the body decreases the amount of osteoblasts produced. One answer to this problem is to make a more efficient osteoblast. Simply stated, the cells just have to make more bone. One half vial contains samples of mouse osteoblasts inside an agar preservative, while the other half vial contains human Growth Hormone (hGH) to stimulate the specialization. Studies report that hGH does affect osteoblasts in mice. When the tubes slide together the ingredients mix and the hGH causes bone growth in the mouse cells. Microgravity shows a difference between the space tube and the control tube. The hGH increases the growth and specialization of osteoblasts in the test tube.


    • Deposition and Formation of Zinc Phosphate Crystals in Microgravity
      Yeshiva Ketana of Long Island, Grades 6-7, Inwood, NY
      Deposition and Formation of Zinc Phosphate Crystals in Microgravity investigates the reaction of sodium phosphate with zinc chloride to produce sodium chloride and a precipitate of zinc phosphate. Since the reaction is in aqueous solution, the precipitate should form hopeite crystals. The aqueous solutions begin in separate sections of the Type 2-Prime well that combines while in orbit. Zinc phosphate is used on metal surfaces to reduce corrosion and can be used in dental cement. Crystals grown in microgravity tend to have fewer defects than those grown in laboratories on earth. Understanding the purer form of zinc phosphate’s structure provides useful information for commercial and industrial applications requiring anti-corrosion coatings or in the medical sciences, such as dentistry. The crystals grown in microgravity are compared with controls grown in the science lab, using x-ray diffraction, to see which are more perfect. A light microscope with a magnification of at least 40x is used to investigate the general shape and structure of the crystals. The mass of the precipitate is measured and provides observations on where the crystals form.

    ^ back to top



    Applications

    Space Applications
    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.

    Earth Applications
    The long-term goal of this project is to enhance technological, industrial, and educational growth for the benefit of people on Earth.

    ^ back to top



    Operations

    Operational Requirements
    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.

    Operational Protocols
    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.

    ^ back to top



    Results/More Information
    Information Pending

    ^ back to top



    Related Websites
    NanoRacks
    NCESSE
    SSEP

    ^ back to top



    Imagery