JAXA Mouse Habitat Unit (JAXA Mouse Habitat Unit) - 11.14.18

Summary | Overview | Operations | Results | Publications | Imagery

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Science Objectives for Everyone
Mouse Habitat Unit (MHU) is a unique habitat facility developed by the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) for rodent research. This facility consists of 12 mouse cages with an integrated life support system, environment controlling system, and observation system. MHU is attached to the Cell Biology Experiment Facility (CBEF), which is already onboard Kibo, and has a centrifuge that enables investigations to be performed in microgravity and artificial gravity conditions simultaneously.
Science Results for Everyone
Information Pending

The following content was provided by Masaki Shirakawa, and is maintained in a database by the ISS Program Science Office.
Facility Details

OpNom: JAXA Mouse Habitat Unit

Facility Manager(s)
Dai Shiba, Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, Tsukuba, Japan

Facility Representative(s)
Hiroyasu Mizuno, Ph.D., Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, Japan

Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, Tsukuba, Tsukuba, Japan

Sponsoring Space Agency
Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA)

Sponsoring Organization
Information Pending

ISS Expedition Duration
March 2015 - March 2016

Expeditions Assigned

Previous Missions
Information Pending


  • Onboard
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    Facility Description

    Facility Overview

    The Mouse Habitat Unit (MHU) is capable of accommodating mice, which are commonly used as important model test animals, and are widely recognized in the field of life sciences. Using a variety of gene-modification technologies on mice, a large number of significant biological discoveries have been achieved.
    MHU has three features: allowance for individual breeding, providing artificial gravity, and enabling live return of mice. MHU supports science investigations to evaluate more precise effects of long-term microgravity exposure to mice, for which the results can be applied to humans.
    MHU consists of four main components: the mouse cage, life support system, environment control system, and an observation system. The life support system includes a feeder, watering unit, and waste collection system to maintain a comfortable rearing environment for the mice. The environment control system contains a biological filter for odor elimination and monitors temperature, humidity, and carbon dioxide (CO2) and ammonia (NH3) concentrations. The observation system consists of video cameras and a lighting system. Light Emitting Diode (LED) lights provide Light/Dark cycles for the mice, and provide necessary lighting for observation. Data is transmitted to the ground for monitoring and analysis.

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    Facility Operations

    • MHU is launched on an International Space Station (ISS) resupply cargo vehicle and transferred to ISS/Kibo for stowage.
    • The investigation begins after mice arrival on the ISS in a Cage Unit for Transportation with a Support Unit for ECLSS (Environmental Control Life Support System).
    • Just before the mice arrive on the ISS, the Mouse Habitat Cage Unit is installed in the Cell Biology Experiment Facility (CBEF) located in the Japanese Experiment Module (JEM).
    • Following the initial checkout of the installed hardware, the mice are transferred from Mouse Transportation Cage Unit into the Mouse Habitat Cages.
    • The data collection period of investigations may last more than 30 days.
    • Images and environmental data are sent to the ground for monitoring and analysis.
    • After investigations are completed on orbit, the living mice are installed in the Cage Unit for return to Earth.

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    Decadal Survey Recommendations

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    Results/More Information

    Information Pending

    Results Publications

      Shiba D, Mizuno H, Yumoto A, Shimomura M, Kobayashi H, Morita H, Shimbo M, Hamada M, Kudo T, Shinohara M, Asahara H, Shirakawa M, Takahashi S.  Development of new experimental platform ‘MARS’—Multiple Artificial-gravity Research System—to elucidate the impacts of micro/partial gravity on mice. Scientific Reports. 2017 September 7; 7(1): 10837. DOI: 10.1038/s41598-017-10998-4. PMID: 28883615.

      Mao XW, Byrum S, Nishiyama NC, Pecaut MJ, Sridharan V, Boerma M, Tackett AJ, Shiba D, Shirakawa M, Takahashi S, Delp MD.  Impact of spaceflight and artificial gravity on the mouse retina: Biochemical and proteomic analysis. International Journal of Molecular Sciences. 2018 August 28; 19(9): 2546. DOI: 10.3390/ijms19092546. PMID: 30154332.

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    Ground Based Results Publications

      Shimbo M, Kudo T, Hamada M, Jeon H, Imamura Y, Asano K, Okada R, Tsunakawa Y, Mizuno S, Yagami K, Ishikawa C, Li H, Shiga T, Ishida J, Hamada J, Murata K, Ishimura T, Hashimoto M, Fukamizu A, Yamane M, Ikawa M, Morita H, Shinohara M, Asahara H, Akiyama T, Akiyama N, Sasanuma H, Yoshida N, Zhou R, Wang Y, Ito T, Kokubu Y, Noguchi TK, Ishimine H, Kurisaki A, Shiba D, Mizuno H, Shirakawa M, Ito N, Takeda S, Takahashi S.  Ground-based assessment of JAXA mouse habitat cage unit by mouse phenotypic studies. Experimental Animals. 2016 January 28; epub: 45 pp. DOI: 10.1538/expanim.15-0077. PMID: 26822934.

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    ISS Patents

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    Related Publications

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    Related Websites

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