1993-07-01

Plant Growth, Invertebrate and Cells Hardware Developed for the First International Microgravity Laboratory (IML-1) 932265

The Space Life Sciences Projects Office at NASA Ames Research Center (ARC), is responsible for developing and integrating nonhuman experiments flown aboard the Spacelab. Recent projects included hardware for experiments flown on the First International Microgravity Laboratory (IML-1) January 22-30, 1992. Two hardware projects are described.
The Gravitational Plant Physiology Facility (GPPF) is a double rack piece of Life Sciences Laboratory Equipment (LSLE) designed to support plant growth studies under controlled conditions of g acceleration in the microgravity of space, with emphasis on gravitropic, phototropic, and circumnutational studies. The GPPF was designed by Principal Investigators at the University Science Center, and University of Pennsylvania, in Philadelphia, and flown by ARC, Moffett Field, California. Plant investigations on the GPPF consisted of two experiments, one intended to describe the gravitropic response of plants in microgravity, Gravity Threshold (Gravitropic Response of Plants in the Absence of a Complicating g-force) (GTHRES), the other to measure plant bending response to photostimuli in microgravity, Phototropic Transients (FOTRAN).
A second major effort at Ames included the design and manufacture of three very small life support systems for United States experiments flown on the European Space Agency's (ESA) Biorack. Two systems were designed to support cells growth and fixation in flight. A third system was designed to house microscopic worms during flight, and to provide the capability to record hits of heavy ion high energy (HZE) radiation. Syringes were specially designed to provide media to the cells and fix specimens inside the Biorack glovebox.

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