Commercial Generic Bioprocessing Apparatus Science Insert - 05: Spiders, Fruit Flies and Directional Plant Growth (CSI-05) examines the long duration orb weaving characteristics of a Nephila clavipes (golden orb-web spiders), the movement behavior of fruit flies, and the thigmatropic (directional plant growth in response to a stimulus of direct contact) and phototropic (directional plant growth in response to a light source) responses that occur during seed germination in microgravity. CSI-05 utilizes the unique microgravity environment of the International Space Station (ISS) as part of the K-12 classroom to encourage learning and interest in science, technology, engineering and math.Principal Investigator(s)
Baylor College of Medicine, Center for Education Outreach, Houston, TX, United States
Johnson Space Center, National Laboratory Office, Houston, TX, United States
National Space Biomedical Research Institute, Houston, TX, United States
Orion's Quest, Detroit, MI, United States
BioServe Space Technologies, University of Colorado, Boulder, CO, United States
Butterfly Pavilion, Westminster, CO, United States
Denver Museum of Nature and Science, Denver, CO, United States
National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)Sponsoring Organization
National Laboratory Education (NLE)Research Benefits
Information PendingISS Expedition Duration:
March 2011 - May 2012Expeditions Assigned
27/28,29/30Previous ISS Missions
Space Technology and Research Students (STARSTM), a similar investigation was performed on STS-93 and STS-107. CSI-01 was begun on ISS Expedition 14 and completed during ISS Expedition 15. CSI-02 was performed during ISS Expeditions 15 - 17. CSI-03 began operation during Expedition 18. CSI-03re was completed during Expeditions 21/22.
Commercial Generic Bioprocessing Apparatus Science Insert - 05: Spiders, Fruit Flies and Directional Plant Growth (CSI-05) contains three investigations in the CSI program series. The CSI program provides the K-12 community opportunities to utilize the unique microgravity environment of the International Space Station as part of the regular classroom to encourage learning and interest in science, technology, engineering and math.
The first experiment contained within CSI-05 involves a juvenile orb weaving spider. Previously, scientists have examined the orb web spinning behavior of a spider in space. It has been shown that orb weaving spiders are able to spin webs in space although it appears those webs may have some different characteristics (more symmetry) than their Earth bound counterparts. However, in past experiments, either the spider was not fed adequate amounts of food while it was living in space or the web building was only examined for a short period of time, less than eight days. What has not been examined is if a young orb weaving spider is flown in microgravity and allowed to gradually mature over a 30 to 45 day period, does its web spinning behavior/characteristics change over time, particularly when the spider is provided with adequate food and water. This experiment examines a Nephila clavipes spider (also known as a golden orb spider) which is flown inside a specially designed spider habitat. Once in space, the spider along with a supply of fruit flies, are released from their carrier compartment into the primary living quarters within the habitat. There the spider is free to spin its web. Still and video images are taken in order to document any differences between the ground controls and the space spiders. There are two identical habitats utilized for this experiment each containing a spider and a supply of fruit flies for food and adequate water for proper hydration.
The second experiment which is contained within the spider habitat examines fruit fly motility behavior in space. This experiment is considered secondary to the spider experiment. It is not known how the flight behavior as well as motility behaviors of the fruit fly may change over time while living in microgravity. This colony of flies allows investigators to observe and document their behavior in potentially multiple generations of fruit flies living and developing in microgravity. The wild type, winged fruit fly is utilized for this portion of the experiment. Specific examples of characteristics that are examined for this investigation are number of larvae and adults, grooming behavior, duration of movement, quality of movement, wing movement and interaction between flies.
The third experiment focuses on seed germination and characteristics associated with successful germination in space. On Earth, phototropic (response to light) behavior of the roots and shoots of a seed is well documented. Roots and shoots respond differently to different spectrums of light. The root of a seed has been shown to be negative phototropic that is, if the root is exposed to a predominantly blue spectrum, it turns away or grows in the opposite direction of the light. On the other hand, roots have been shown to be positively phototropic to light with a strong red spectrum. That is, if roots are exposed to strong red spectrum light, the roots tend to grow towards the red light. Roots and shoots are also gravitropic. That is, the roots grow towards gravity while the shoots grow against gravity. Since gravity is not present in space, when seeds attempt to germinate, they cannot distinguish which direction is up or down. In this experiment, seeds are germinated and exposed to white light with a heavy blue spectrum. The experiment examines whether or not seed roots and shoots can be “directed” to grow in the correct direction by capitalizing upon the phototropic characteristics of roots and shoots. Additionally, on Earth, during root and shoot development, a thigmatropic (response to a mechanical stimulus) response is observed in the development of the plants if the roots of the plant come in contact with a solid or dense object. On Earth, it is not known which has a greater impact on the root/shoot direction – phototropism or thigmatropism. This is due to the ever presence of gravity. Because of the absence of gravity on board the International Space Station (ISS), this experiment is designed to determine which condition creates a stronger response in a plant - light or dense objects. Seeds are germinated in different densities of a plant growth gel, Phytagel and exposed to light or no light. Root direction and change in root direction when exposed to light or when growing into a dense gel are examined. Standard Brassica (a genus of plants in the mustard family; such as cabbage and cauliflower) seeds are used in this experiment.
CSI-05 is conducted in the classroom in near real-time, or it can be utilized by teachers at any point during the school year after the space flight experiments are completed. Images and data from the space-based experiments are downlinked to the BioServe Payload Operations and Control Center (POCC) on a daily basis while the experiment is active. Once the downlinked visual data is received, it is uplinked to the BioEd Online website BioEd Online. Participating teachers are provided with a teacher's guide featuring background information, lesson plans, and student activities for conducting the project in their classrooms from the BioEd Online website. The spider and seed germination curriculum materials are developed by the Baylor College of Medicine Center for Education Outreach. The fruit fly curriculum activities are developed by Orion’s Quest, a non-profit educational program, and are available to teachers and students through the Orion’s Quest website Orions Quest. This program is sponsored by the National Space Biomedical Research Institute and the NASA ISS National Lab Education Office.
Results from CSI-05 may help scientists more clearly understand how different organisms are affected by the microgravity environment. CSI-05 provides a unique educational opportunity to encourage and inspire students to pursue careers in the scientific and technical fields by participating in near real-time research activities on board the ISS.Earth Applications
CSI-05 influences children to continue their education in areas of science, technology, engineering and math; which can ultimately lead them to pursue a career related to those fields. This promotes education of the next generation of scientists, engineers, and astronauts for the future’s space program.
CSI-05 operates in the CGBA under controlled temperature conditions and requires imaging and data download daily to BioServe's Payload Operations and Control Center (POCC).Operational Protocols
CSI-05 is transferred from the space shuttle to the ISS and placed inside a CGBA for activation. The imaging hardware for the experiment is automated to allow imagery of the experiments independent of crew. The ISS crew implements a procedure to activate CSI-05 on orbit. The ISS crew also manipulates different feeding components of the hardware to allow fresh food to be exposed for the organisms at a set point in the mission. BioServe monitors all experiments via data and image downlink. The research is contained inside the spider habitats and the seed germination flasks.