Bright and multicolored protein crystals arranged against a black background.
NASA Marshall Space Flight Center

Biological Macromolecules | Biomaterials | Biological Physics | Fluids of Biology

In the International Space Station laboratory, NASA grows more perfect biological macromolecules crystals and analyzes them using a method known as diffraction. Diffraction aims beams of light or particles at the crystals and then studies the scattering pattern to determine the structure of the molecules that form them. A lack of buoyancy-driven fluid flows and sedimentation in space typically cause crystals to grow slower than they would on the ground and reduces incorporation defects allowing researchers to obtain better diffraction data.