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NanoRacks-Valley Christian High School-Bacillus Subtilis Bacteria Growth (NanoRacks-VCHS-B._Subtilis)


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

Experiment Overview

This content was provided by Valley Christian High School, and is maintained in a database by the ISS Program Science Office.

Brief Summary

NanoRacks-Valley Christian High School- Bacillus Subtilis Bacteria Growth (NanoRacks-VCHS-B. Subtilis) is a NanoLab project studying the growth and growth rate of Bacillus subtilis bacteria in microgravity.

Principal Investigator(s)

  • Valley Christian High School , San Jose, CA, United States
  • Co-Investigator(s)/Collaborator(s)

  • Dan Saldana, ISS Project Leader, Valley Christian High School, San Jose, CA, United States
  • Developer(s)

    NanoRacks, LLC, Houston, TX, United States

    Sponsoring Space Agency

    National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)

    Sponsoring Organization

    National Laboratory Education (NLE)

    ISS Expedition Duration

    September 2011 - May 2012

    Expeditions Assigned


    Previous ISS Missions

    Information Pending

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    Experiment Description

    Research Overview

    • The goal of NanoRacks-Valley Christian High School- Bacillus Subtilis Bacteria Growth (NanoRacks-VCHS-B. Subtilis) is to suspend and reanimate the bacteria, Bacillus subtillus, in space and analyze its potential usefulness in disposing of hazardous waste. Through this experiment, a bacteria-sustaining broth is created, as well as, a method to prompt the bacteria to hibernate.

    • Research is important for understanding concepts and reviewing background information concerning the experiments. NanoRacks-VCHS-B. Subtilis research and insight on bacteria help experimenters design future projects, specifically with future partner schools Valley Christian High School is teaming up with.

    • NanoRacks-VCHS-B. Subtilis research is used to increase the general public’s knowledge and to bring space research to a high school level. The research will also help future schools replicate the experiment and perform their own unique projects.


    NanoRacks-Valley Christian High School-Bacillus Subtilis Bacteria Growth (NanoRacks-VCHS-B. Subtilis) examines the growth of Bacillus subtilis (B. subtilis) in microgravity. The bacteria are in dried stasis endospore mode (powder) in a bag, allowing the bacteria to survive in its dormant state until it reaches the International Space Station (ISS). Once aboard the ISS, the bacteria are invigorated by a nutrient enriched broth, which causes it to grow. The growth rate of the bacteria is determined by using two methods. First, using three light sensors, the amount of light from twelve LEDs that passed through the bacteria and broth mixture is measured. As more bacteria grow within the broth, less light is able to penetrate the bacterial broth. This is due to the accumulating bacteria eventually clouding the mixture. The second method utilized is to take a series of photos from a mounted camera within the Microlab. These pictures provide a qualitative depiction of the cloudy broth and bacterial colony.

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    Space Applications

    In order to ensure crew health during space flight and long duration missions, an understanding of how bacteria behave in microgravity leads to better prevention and treatment of infections.

    Earth Applications

    NanoRacks-VCHS-B. Subtilis allows students at Valley Christian High School to participate in an out of this world experiment to determine how microgravity affects the growth of bacteria. A better understanding of bacterial behavior on earth is accomplished by studying the fundamental properties of bacterial growth in microgravity.

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    Operational Requirements

    NanoRacks Module-18 is completely autonomous and only requires installation and removal. NanoRacks Module–18 does not return to earth.

    Operational Protocols

    Crew interaction with Module-18 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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    Results/More Information

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    Related Websites
  • Valley Christian School
  • NanoRacks
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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.