NanoRacks-McMinnville High Engineering & Aerospace Sciences Academy-Plant Damage & Recovery in Microgravity (NanoRacks-MH EASA-Plant Damage & Recovery in Microgravity) - 11.22.16

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

ISS Science for Everyone

Science Objectives for Everyone
In microgravity, injuries in humans and animals take longer to heal than they do on Earth, yet bacteria and fungi can grow faster and stronger. The NanoRacks-McMinnville High Engineering Aerospace & Sciences Academy-Plant Damage & Recovery in Microgravity (NanoRacks-MH EASA-Plant Damage & Recovery in Microgravity) investigation studies whether plants also take longer to heal from an injury. Results improve efforts to grow plants in space, where they will be an important source of food and oxygen for future space missions.
Science Results for Everyone
Information Pending

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

OpNom:

Principal Investigator(s)
McMinnville High School Engineering Aerospace & Sciences Academy , McMinnville High School EASA, McMinnville, OR, United States

Co-Investigator(s)/Collaborator(s)
MaryBeth Kramer, M.S., McMinnville High Engineering Aerospace & Sciences Academy, Sheridan, OR, United States
Jeffrey Jackson, M.S., Intel Corp., Newberg, OR, United States

Developer(s)
McMinnville High School EASA, McMinnville, OR, 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 2016 - September 2016

Expeditions Assigned
47/48

Previous Missions
Information Pending

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Experiment Description

Research Overview

  • Observation shows that microgravity slows the human healing process. This may be applicable to plants since both mammals and plants repair by generating new cells. Information on how long or the inability of plants to recover in microgravity is critical for future space missions.
  • The NanoRacks-McMinnville High Engineering Aerospace & Sciences Academy-Plant Damage & Recovery in Microgravity (NanoRacks-MH EASA-Plant Damage & Recovery in Microgravity) student-designed experiment cuts an aloe vera succulent cactus. The cactus is observed visually as it heals in microgravity.
  • An understanding of plant recovery in microgravity is developed for long-term space travel nurseries.

Description
NanoRacks-McMinnville High Engineering Aerospace & Sciences Academy-Plant Damage & Recovery in Microgravity (NanoRacks-MH EASA-Plant Damage & Recovery in Microgravity) is a 3D printed Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene (ABS) plastic frame that is 10 cm by 2.7 cm by 3.5 cm. The goal of the frame is to hold an ABS tube containing an aloe vera succulent cactus so that it is steady, centered, and visible to the camera. Within the tube, water-storing crystals are enclosed with growth sponges. The tube is then encased in Gore-Tex. The cactus is also held within range of a surgical blade that rotates on a micro-servo. The servo is held securely below the plant. Above the frame a secured vinyl water bag containing ten milliliters of distilled water. A micro-pump is used to circulate water to the cactus. Four milliliters of water are initially introduced in the water-storing crystals to provide moisture while the experiment is traveling to the space station. The camera takes an initial picture in order to record any issues that might have occurred while the unit was in transit to the space station 12 hours after power is supplied to the unit. The plant is also provided two milliliters of water. The surgical blade and servo are then activated in order to make a cut in the plant. Another photo is taken in order to record the amount of damage that is done to the plant. From that point forward the plant is watered two milliliters each week. The LED is also turned on and off on 12 hour cycles in order to simulate day and night. A photo is taken every 12 hours in order to capture any on-going changes or issues with the experiment. Upon returning to earth the area of the plant around the cut is examined with a microscope. The cells in this area are compared to those from a plant in the ground unit.

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Applications

Space Applications
Humans, animals and plants heal from injuries by replacing damaged cells, and in humans, this process takes longer in microgravity than it does on Earth. This investigation studies whether this is also true for plants, by making a small cut on an aloe vera succulent plant and observing it as it heals. The plant also returns to Earth so its cells can be compared to a control plant cut on the ground. Information on how plants heal from injuries in space benefits efforts to grow plants for medicine, food and oxygen on future missions.

Earth Applications
The investigation was designed and built by students in grades 9 through 12, who gain real-world experience in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) concepts. Teachers and mentors helped the students build an experiment to be flown on the International Space Station, connecting them to the space program in a unique way.

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Operations

Operational Requirements and Protocols

Nano-Racks module 20 is completely autonomous and only requires installation, removal, and collection of data generated by the unit. This data consists of a series of 8 VGA photos during the first 13 hours of operation and a small number of text log files. From then on, it will consist of 2 VGA photos and corresponding log files for each 24 hour period. The payload chamber needs to be returned to the researches so its contents can be examined under a microscope.
 
Crew interaction with Module-20 is limited to transferring the NanoRacks locker Insert from the launch vehicle to the International Space Station (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

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McMinnville High EASA Team for NanoRacks-McMinnville High Engineering & Aerospace Sciences Academy-Plant Damage & Recovery in Microgravity (NanoRacks-MH EASA-Plant Damage & Recovery in Microgravity). Image courtesy of McMinnville High Engineering and Aerospace Sciences Academy.

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NanoRacks-McMinnville High Engineering & Aerospace Sciences Academy-Plant Damage & Recovery in Microgravity (NanoRacks-MH EASA-Plant Damage & Recovery in Microgravity) flight unit. Image courtesy of McMinnville High Engineering & Aerospace Sciences Academy.

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Testing the surgical blade and micro-servo in NanoRacks-McMinnville High Engineering & Aerospace Sciences Academy-Plant Damage & Recovery in Microgravity (NanoRacks-MH EASA-Plant Damage & Recovery in Microgravity). Image courtesy of Engineering & Aerospace Sciences Academy.

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