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Scientists and payload developers can get more information on International Space Station research facilities by contacting the ISS Payloads Office or at 281-244-6187.

Aquatic Habitat (Aquatic_Habitat)
12.05.12

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Overview | Description | Applications | Operations | Results | Publications | Imagery

Facility Overview

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Brief Facility Summary

Aquatic Habitat is a unique investigation designed to study small fresh water fish including the medaka and zebrafish. This facility consists of two aquariums with a closed loop water circulation system, automatic feeding system, day/night light cycle, and cameras. This microgravity investigation allows researchers to study changes to bones, the loss of muscle mass, the effects of radiation and the biological development of living organisms.

Facility Manager(s)

Information Pending

Co-Facility Manager(s)

Information Pending

Facility Developer(s)

Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), Tsukuba, , Japan

Sponsoring Agency

Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA)

Expeditions Assigned

29/30,31/32,33/34,35/36

Previous ISS Missions

Hardware is in development and has not yet flown.

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Facility Description

Facility Overview

  • The Aquatic Habitat is capable of accommodating small freshwater fish, such as medaka or zebrafish, which serve as ideal models for vertebrates. This facility is closed water circulatory aquarium that can support up to twelve medaka or eight zebrafish for durations lasting up to 90 days (the maximum number depending on the life stage of each specimen).


  • AQH consists of four main components: two aquariums, the water circulation unit, control unit, and CCD cameras. Biological filters (i.e., bacteria and waste water) and gas exchangers maintain the quality of the environmental system. An automatic feeding system can be programmed to support different feeding sequences as needed. One closed water loop supports both transparent aquariums with a total water volume of 3.2 liters. The circulation system monitors water PH, temperature, flow rate and is outfitted with pressure sensors. Light Emitting Diode (LED) lights are used to provide a day/night cycle for the fish and provide necessary lighting for the CCD cameras. Data is transmitted to the ground for monitoring and analysis.


  • Ancillary hardware associated with AQH includes the Fish transport containers, fish catcher, chemical/fish fixation kit, egg collection/hatching kit, water quality test kit, water exchange kit and a phase contrast microscope. The Fish transport container is uniquely outfitted for ascent and descent trips with a gas-permeable membrane and LED. The Phase contrast microscope is used to perform microscopic fluorescent observations of fish embryos and larvae.


  • The Aquatic Habitat facility supports experiments investigating the long-duration effects of microgravity and the space radiation environment on vertebrates, including human beings. Small fish are used due the ease of breeding and embryonic observations and their short developmental and generational turnaround (1-2 month cycle) timeframes.


  • This facility is the fourth in a line of previously flown Space Lab and Space Shuttle aquariums.

Description

Information Pending

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Operations

Facility Operations

Information Pending

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Results/More Information

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Availability

  • Onboard ISS
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    Results Publications

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    Ground Based Results Publications

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    ISS Patents

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    Related Publications

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    Related Websites
  • Aquatic Habitat (AQH)
  • News - Medaka
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    Imagery

    image NASA Image: ISS033E012521 - right side view of the Aquatic Habitat shown housed in the Multipurpose Small Payload Rack (MSPR).
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    image NASA Image: ISS033E012517 - Individual Aquarium for the Aquatic Habitat during installation operations on Expedition 33/34.ground testing
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    image Aquarium ground testing (JAXA)
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    image Schematic of full Aquatic Habitat (AQH) facility (JAXA)
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    image NASA Image: ISS033E012523, left side view of the Aquatic Habitat shown housed in the Multipurpose Small Payload Rack (MSPR).
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    image NASA Image: ISS033E016620 - Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency Expedition 33 flight engineer Aki Hoshide filling the Aquatic Habitat with water in preparation for adding the fish.
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    Information provided by the investigation team to the ISS Program Scientist's Office.
    If updates are needed to the summary please contact JSC-ISS-Program-Science-Group. For other general questions regarding space station research and technology, please feel free to call our help line at 281-244-6187 or e-mail at JSC-ISS-Payloads-Helpline.