Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Student biology investigations streamed live from International Space Station

Date:
September 11, 2012
Source:
NASA
Summary:
Several young researchers were incredibly excited when the latest Japanese cargo ship arrived at the International Space Station, in late July. Along with the usual food, clothing, and science investigations, the spacecraft delivered the two global YouTube Space Lab winning entries.

The jumping spider investigation, as part of the International Space Station YouTube Space Lab contest, includes the red-backed spider (left) and zebra spider (right) species.
Credit: BioServe

Several young researchers were incredibly excited when the latest Japanese cargo ship arrived at the International Space Station, in late July. Along with the usual food, clothing, and science investigations, the spacecraft delivered the two global YouTube Space Lab winning entries.

Dorothy Chen and Sara Ma (from Troy, Mich.) and Amr Mohamed (from Alexandria, Egypt) won this opportunity to do research in the orbiting laboratory's microgravity environment -- while attending high school.

These young scientists are working on some interesting hypotheses involving jumping spiders' adaptation abilities, and how microgravity might affect the anti-fungal properties of Bacillus subtilis (also known as B. subtilis), which are naturally occurring bacteria.

Astronaut Sunita Williams, NASA flight engineer, is conducting the investigations aboard the station. The student experiments are scheduled to stream live via video from the space station on the YouTube Space Lab website Sept. 13, at 9:30 a.m. CDT (http://www.youtube.com/user/spacelab/spacelab).

Mohamed's Salticus scenicus, or zebra spider, research looks at whether jumping spiders, like the zebra and red-backed species, can adapt their hunting abilities to microgravity. Jumping spiders do not build webs for catching their food. These particular spiders hunt using their excellent vision to track and stalk prey, jumping and striking with a lethal bite -- similar to cats hunting mice.

"I have always been fascinated by science because with a handful of equations, I can explain the world around me," said Mohamed in his Meet the Winner YouTube video. "The idea of sending an experiment to space is the most exciting thing that I have ever heard in my life."

Chen and Ma were inspired by previous Salmonella studies done aboard station, proving this type of bacteria grown in microgravity becomes more virulent. They are testing this theory on B. subtilis, to see if these bacteria will have increased anti-fungal properties when compared to the same bacteria produced on Earth. Their testing procedures involve introducing various nutrients and compounds, in particular phosphates and nitrates, separately to see if these additives affect growth and anti-fungal potency. If their hypothesis is correct, results may lead to stronger probiotics (as B. subtilis is highly stable in harsh environmental conditions), and increased knowledge concerning how bacteria cause disease.

In their Meet the Winners YouTube video, Ma said, "When we first started brainstorming, we definitely wanted to do something to impact the human race. It's so cool how with science, everything relates to each other. Physics is used in chemistry, and chemistry is used in biology, and so on; everything is interrelated and it's just really neat to find those relations." Chen added, "The idea that something you made, something that's your experiment, being sent up into space and actually becoming a reality is pretty incredible."

Using the excitement of space and the thrill of having an experiment publicly conducted on the space station, exposes hundreds of thousands -- if not millions -- of students worldwide to the concept of research in microgravity, using the unique scientific platform of the space station.

The U.S. segment of the space station was designated as a national laboratory in 2005. NASA Deputy Administrator Lori Garver said, "As a national laboratory, our goal is to open up the space station to new paths for the exploration, discovery and economic development of space. Educating and inspiring the next generation of space explorers and scientists are among the most important things NASA can do, and these students are getting the opportunity of a lifetime. A contest like this taps into the passion of so many people who get involved, from the just over 2,000 students who submitted proposals to everyone who voted for them, and we want to encourage that passion and engagement."

The world-wide contest for students 14 to 18 years old called for students to submit entries via a two-minute YouTube video in the areas of physics or biology. There were over 2,000 entries received from more than 80 countries around the world.

"Competitions like YouTube Space Lab will inspire millions of people to explore and be curious about the world," said Mohamed.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by NASA. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

NASA. "Student biology investigations streamed live from International Space Station." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 11 September 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/09/120911200131.htm>.
NASA. (2012, September 11). Student biology investigations streamed live from International Space Station. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/09/120911200131.htm
NASA. "Student biology investigations streamed live from International Space Station." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/09/120911200131.htm (accessed July 22, 2014).

Share This




More Space & Time News

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

NASA Ceremony Honors Moon Walker Neil Armstrong

NASA Ceremony Honors Moon Walker Neil Armstrong

AP (July 21, 2014) NASA honored one of its most famous astronauts Monday by renaming a historic building at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. It now bears the name of Neil Armstrong, the first man to walk on the moon. (July 21) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Neil Armstrong's Post-Apollo 11 Life

Neil Armstrong's Post-Apollo 11 Life

Newsy (July 19, 2014) Neil Armstrong gained international fame after becoming the first man to walk on the moon in 1969. But what was his life like after the historic trip? Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
This Week @ NASA, July 18, 2014

This Week @ NASA, July 18, 2014

NASA (July 18, 2014) Apollo 11 yesterday, Next Giant Leap tomorrow, Science instruments for Europa mission, and more... Video provided by NASA
Powered by NewsLook.com
45 Years Later, Buzz Aldrin on Walking on Moon

45 Years Later, Buzz Aldrin on Walking on Moon

AP (July 18, 2014) Forty-five years ago Sunday, Apollo 11's Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin became the first humans to set foot on the moon. Speaking at the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum, Aldrin described what he was thinking right before the historic walk. (July 18) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins