NanoRacks-McMinnville High School-Exoskeleton Density Analysis of Mealworms in a Microgravity Environment (NanoRacks-MHS-Exoskeleton Density ) - 11.22.16

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

ISS Science for Everyone

Science Objectives for Everyone
Living in microgravity causes several changes to insects, animals and plants, and because insects are an important part of any ecosystem, understanding these changes is crucial for future long-term space missions or settlements. NanoRacks-McMinnville High School-Exoskeleton Density Analysis of Mealworms in a Microgravity Environment (NanoRacks-MHS-Exoskeleton Density) studies whether mealworms successfully reproduce in microgravity and pupate into beetles. The investigation also studies how the density of their exoskeletons changes over time spent in space.
Science Results for Everyone
Information Pending

The following content was provided by McMinnville High School, and is maintained in a database by the ISS Program Science Office.
Experiment Details

OpNom: NanoRacks Module-20 S/N 1002

Principal Investigator(s)
McMinnville High School , McMinnville High School, McMinnville, OR, United States

Co-Investigator(s)/Collaborator(s)
Owen Griffiths, PhD, McMinnville High School, McMinnville, OR, United States
Tim Morris, PhD, Evergreen Museums, McMinnville, OR, United States

Developer(s)
McMinnville High School, McMinnville, OR, United States
Valley Christian High School , San Jose , CA, United States
NanoRacks LLC, Webster, TX, United States

Sponsoring Space Agency
National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)

Sponsoring Organization
National Laboratory Education (NLE)

Research Benefits
Earth Benefits, Scientific Discovery, Space Exploration

ISS Expedition Duration
March 2014 - September 2014

Expeditions Assigned
39/40

Previous Missions
Information Pending

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Experiment Description

Research Overview

  • NanoRacks-McMinnville High School-Exoskeleton Density Analysis of Mealworms in a Microgravity Environment (NanoRacks-MHS-Exoskeleton Density) aims to better understand how insects respond to prolonged periods of microgravity as part of research into developing a sustainable ecosystem outside of Earth gravity.
  • NanoRacks-MHS-Exoskeleton Density hopes to see the mealworms successfully propagate through a generation from beetles to larva over the course of onboard operations.
  • This investigation develops a better understanding of the relative ease or difficulty that insects experience under microgravity and how it affects their lifecycle.
     

Description
NanoRacks-McMinnville High School-Exoskeleton Density Analysis of Mealworms in a Microgravity Environment (NanoRacks-MHS-Exoskeleton Density) studies how insects respond to prolonged periods of microgravity. Six to eight mealworm beetles are present in an enclosure containing rolled oats and a slow release moisture source.  Over time, the beetles are expected to mate and propagate a second generation from egg to larva and possible pupa state.  The rate of progression likely depends on the ambient temperature and humidity on the International Space Station (ISS).  The hardware consists of an LED light, a small fan and the camera for capturing photographic images of the beetles within the enclosure. The photographs indicate condition and movement of the mealworms and provide image information on their development and behavior in microgravity. Upon return to Earth the module is examined and eggs, larva (mealworms), pupa and beetles are analyzed for growth, population and overall physiognomy (exoskeleton density).

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Applications

Space Applications
Six to eight mealworm beetles travel to the International Space Station in an enclosure full of rolled oats and a slow-release moisture source. By studying their reproduction and growth, the investigation provides insight into the challenges they face while living in microgravity conditions. Results provide information on mealworms' resilience in space, which helps scientists understand their roles in a sustainable ecosystem in space or on lower-gravity worlds like the moon or Mars.

Earth Applications
NanoRacks-MHS-Exoskeleton Density provides useful insight about how microgravity affects the life cycle of an important Earth organism. Additionally, students in grades 10 through 12 designed, tested and built the experiment, providing real-world experience in applied math, sciences and engineering.

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Operations

Operational Requirements and Protocols
NanoRacks Module-20 is completely autonomous and only requires installation and removal.  During actual operation, photographic data is sent to the investigators to track the progress of the experiment.  The photographic image data is taken at regular hourly intervals for the duration of the flight.  The payload chamber needs to be returned to the researchers so its contents can be examined and compared to the control group.
Crew interaction with Module-20 is limited to transferring the NanoRacks locker insert fro the launch vehicle to the ISS, installation and activation of the NanoRacks Frames into the EXPRESS Rack Locker, cleaning of the air inlet filter (as necessary) and data retrieval (as needed) during the mission.

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Decadal Survey Recommendations

Information Pending

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Results/More Information

Information Pending

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Related Websites

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Imagery

image McMinnville High School Engineering & Aerospace Sciences Academy NanoLab Student Team of McMinnville, OR designed the NanoRacks-McMinnville High School-Exoskeleton Density Analysis of Mealworms in a Microgravity Environment (NanoRacks-MHS-Exoskeleton Density) investigation. (left to right, center group:  Michael Cox, Tyler Branson, Adam Clark, Steven Prause, Josh Kaufman, Nathan Lausmann, Alex Kuhn, Ryan Coleman, front Hazel Findley and Hailey Sahagun, back Owen Griffiths instructor) Image courtesy of McMinnville High School.
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