NanoRacks-Valley Christian Junior High School-Penicillin Growth Preferences in a Microgravity Environment (NanoRacks-VCJHS-Penicillin Growth) - 09.27.17

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

ISS Science for Everyone

Science Objectives for Everyone
Since its discovery in 1928, penicillin has been instrumental in curing bacterial diseases. It comes from a mold that requires warm and moist conditions to grow. NanoRacks-Valley Christian Junior High School-Penicillin Growth Preferences in a Microgravity Environment (NanoRacks-VCJHS-Penicillin Growth) determines if penicillin grows better on a lattice structure or free form in microgravity, possibly allowing future space crews to grow their own antibiotics.
 
Science Results for Everyone
Information Pending

The following content was provided by James Nadir, B.S. EE, and is maintained in a database by the ISS Program Science Office.
Experiment Details

OpNom: NanoRacks Module-22 S/N 1002

Principal Investigator(s)
Valley Christian Junior High School , Valley Christian Junior High School, San Jose, CA, United States

Co-Investigator(s)/Collaborator(s)
James Nadir, B.S. EE, Valley Christian Junior High School, San Jose, CA, United States

Developer(s)
Valley Christian Junior 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
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

  • Penicillin as well as other antibiotics are needed on long space journeys.
  • NanoRacks-Valley Christian Junior High School-Penicillin Growth Preferences in a Microgravity Environment (NanoRacks-VCJHS-Penicillin Growth) determines if penicillin grows more efficiently when confined to a structure or unconfined (free form).
  • The impact is to determine a means to grow penicillin more efficiently and quickly.
     

Description
NanoRacks-Valley Christian Junior High School-Penicillin Growth Preferences in a Microgravity Environment (NanoRacks-VCJHS-Penicillin Growth) examines if penicillin grows more efficiently on a lattice structure or free form in a microgravity environment.   A single miniature valve (LFAA0501510H from the LEE Company) is used to deliver broth into an observation chamber. Penicillin spores are contained both in an apparatus called the “spore injector” and inside the chamber where the spores are held in place by medical tape which is attached to a “ladder”.  When the valve is opened, the broth rushes through the spore chamber, mixing with the spores and flushing them into the observation chamber. As the broth fills the chamber the spores attached to the “ladder” are also hydrated and become active.

The dimensions of the valve are approximately 1 cm by 1 cm by 4 cm. The observation chamber is a milled polycarbonate block of approximately 2.25” by 2.5” by 5/8”. The spore chamber is a modified fluidic check valve from Qosina and is made from polycarbonate.  The “ladder” is a paperclip bend and soldered to hold the medical tape in place inside the chamber. Programming and electronic interface circuitry manages the valve, timing duration, and photo frequency.

Temperature needs to be around 25°C with approximately 32 PSI. Continuous power is needed for a minimum of 5 days after the first 28 duration hours of intermittent power. Thereafter power can be momentarily interrupted without significant disruption to the experiment. The experiment is designed to function for the duration of the flight onboard the ISS but it can be shut down after 15 days if needed.
 

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Applications

Space Applications
Bacteria grow quickly and become more virulent in microgravity, requiring antibiotics to treat and prevent human diseases. Future long-duration space missions will need new antibiotics to fight these microbes, and penicillin is an effective treatment. Determining how best to grow penicillin in space helps researchers trying to combat bacteria in a confined spacecraft.

Earth Applications
Students from grades 7 and 8 designed the investigation, developing new skills in the sciences and strengthening their connections to the space program. Their findings may lead to novel ways to produce penicillin on Earth.

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Operations

Operational Requirements and Protocols

NanoRacks Module-22 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. Data is transmitted once a day at about the same hour. Transmitted data consists of 1 VGA quality photograph along with its associated environmental data (humidity and temperature).   The payload chamber needs to be returned to the researchers so its contents can be examined and compared to the earth grown sample.


Crew interaction with NanoRacks Module-22 is limited to transferring the NanoRacks locker Insert from 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
NanoRacks

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Imagery

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The NanoRacks-Valley Christian Junior High School-Penicillin Growth Preferences in a Microgravity Environment (NanoRacks-VCJHS-Penicillin Growth) investigation team.  Image courtesy of Valley Christian Junior High School.


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