Studying biological and physical phenomena in extreme environments enables researchers to pursue innovations and discoveries in ways not possible on Earth.
NASA’s Biological and Physical Sciences Division therefore utilizes many platforms of research which include the International Space Station and eventually the lunar orbit and Moon.
- Artemis I – 8/29/022
- SpaceX CRS-26 – 10/2022
Following is a list of current BPS investigations.
Artemis 1 Orion Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle
The orange highlighted research below is scheduled for lunar orbit on Artemis I.
- Biological Experiment-01 (BioExpt-01) – Studying how life responds to conditions beyond low-Earth orbit.
- Deep Space Radiation Genomics (DSRG) – Pioneering scientific discovery by correlating which genes provide yeast cells, Saccharomyces cerevisiae, with a higher probability of survival and the types and doses of radiation experienced beyond Earth’s protective magnetosphere.
- Fuel to Mars – Identifying genes and gene pathways in algae, Chlamydomonas reinhardtii, that convey the best survival advantage during exposure to the combined impacts of space radiation and microgravity to become the parent strains in future studies to optimize generation of hydrogen and other fuels in space.
- Investigating the Roles of Melanin and DNA Repair on Adaptation and Survivability of Fungi in Deep Space – Determining the physiology and molecular pathways responsive to spaceflight using fungi, such as Aspergillus niger, a group of microorganisms commonly found in spacecrafts.
- Life Beyond Earth: Effect of Space Flight on Seeds with Improved Nutritional Value– Understanding the impact of space flight beyond the Van Allen radiation belt on amino acids which are the building blocks of proteins in Arabidopsis thaliana seeds.
International Space Station
- Advanced Colloids Experiment-Temperature Control-1 (ACE-T-1) – Examining the fundamental physics behind colloidal structures
- Advanced Combustion Microgravity Experiment (ACME) mission - Was a set of five independent studies of gaseous flames conducted in the Combustion Integrated Rack (CIR)
- Burning Rate Emulator (BRE) – Studies fire prevention, especially in spacecraft, by simulating the flammability of solid and liquid materials by burning gaseous fuels under key conditions corresponding to the solid and liquid materials.
- Coflow Laminar Diffusion Flame (CLD Flame) - Investigates combustion at the extremes of the fuel dilution spectrum – namely pure-fuel flames that produce soot, and highly diluted flames that are close to extinction.
- Electric-Field Effects on Laminar Diffusion Flames (E-FIELD Flames) - Investigates how the ions can be used to control non-premixed flames in order to gain an improved understanding of flame production.
- Flame Design - Improving our understanding of soot inception and control in order to enable the optimization of oxygen enriched combustion and the “design” of non-premixed flames that are both robust and soot free.
- Structure and Response of Spherical Flames (s-Flame) - Advancing our ability to predict the structure and dynamics, including extinction, of both soot-free and sooty flames.
- Advanced Imaging, Folding, and Assembly of Colloidal Molecules (ACE-T-9) – Investigating the imaging, folding, and assembly of complex colloidal molecules within a fluid medium
- Advanced Plant Experiment-07 (APEX-07) — Examining how changes in gravity and other environmental factors associated with spaceflight affect plants at the level of gene expression
- Advanced Plant EXperiment-08 (APEX-08) — Examining the role of polyamines in stress response mitigation to microgravity in Arabidopsis thaliana.
- Biological Research In Canisters-24 (BRIC-24) — Testing the role of membrane contacts in plant gravity perception
- BioScience-4 – Studying the multiplication of nervous system stem cells in microgravity. (Returned on SpaceX-21)
- BRazing of Aluminum alloys IN Space (SUBSA-BRAINS) – Examines differences in capillary flow, interface reactions, and bubble formation during solidification of brazing alloys in microgravity.
- Cell Science-04 (CS-04) — Using Water Bears to Identify Biological Countermeasures to Stress during Multigenerational Spaceflight
- Characterization of Biofilm Formation, Growth, and Gene Expression on Different Materials and Environmental Conditions in Microgravity (Space Biofilms) —Characterizes the mass, thickness, structure, and associated gene expression of biofilms (molds) that form in space by analyzing a fungal species grown on different materials.
- Dendrite Fragmentation and Morphology During Melting and Solidification (DFM) – Examining potential ability to produce metals with higher strength, both in space and on Earth.
- Device for the Study of Critical Liquids and Crystallization (DECLIC) — A multi-user facility designed to support experiments in the fields of fluid physics and materials science. It was developed by the Centre National d’Etudes Spatiales (French Space Agency, CNES) and flown in collaboration with NASA.
- DEvice for the study of Critical LIquids and Crystallization - Directional Solidification Insert-Reflight (DSI-R) — Observing clear alloys that freeze like metals in microgravity.
- Dynamics of Microbiomes in Space (DynaMoS) – Examines how microgravity affects metabolic interactions in communities of soil microbes.
- eXposed Root On-Orbit Test System (XROOTS) Tech Demo – Uses hydroponic and aeroponic techniques to grow plants without soil or other growth media.
- Flow Boiling and Condensation Experiment (FBCE) – An integrated two-phase flow boiling and condensation facility for the International Space Station
- Foam Optics and Mechanics (FOAM) — Studies the relative stability of foams and bubbly liquids in order to gain insight into how they evolve with time.
- FSL Soft Matter Dynamics – Particle STAbilised Emulsions and Foams (PASTA) — Aims to study the dynamics of droplets and their size evolution in emulsions. It is sponsored by the European Space Agency (ESA) with a BPS Co-Investigator.
- Gravitation Effects on Distortion in Sintering (GEDS) — Exploring liquid-phase sintering as a means to perform in-space fabrication and repair. (Returned on SpaceX-21)
- Growth of Ternary Compound Semiconductors (MSL SCA-GTCS) — Comparing the structural quality of crystals grown on Earth and in microgravity.
- Micro-14A – Studying the effects of spaceflight on Candida albicans (C. albicans), a pathogenic yeast that can infect the human body. (Returned on SpaceX-21)
- Micro-16 – Determining loss of muscle mass and strength in space on humans by investigating the effects of space on tiny worms (Launched on NG-15)
- Microbial Tracking-3 (MT-3) — Cataloging and characterizing potential disease-causing microorganisms aboard the International Space Station (ISS).
- Microgravity Investigation of Thermophysical Properties of Supercooled Molten Metal Oxides (ELF 5/Superglass) - Measures the density, thermal expansion coefficient, viscosity and surface tension of supercooled liquids over a wide range of temperatures and compositions.
- MISSE-SEED – Investigating the effects of long-duration space radiation exposure on seed quality and storage (Launched on NG-15)
- Plant RNA Regulation Redux in Multi Variable Platform (MVP) - (MVP-Plant-01) — Profiles and monitors shoot and root development in plants in microgravity.
- Quantifying Selection for Pathogenicity and Antibiotic Resistance in Bacteria and Fungi on the ISS – a Microbial Tracking Study - (MT-3C) — Continues the third point in a time series focused on ongoing monitoring of pathogenicity (ability to cause disease).
- Rodent Research-10 (RR-10) Mission – Investigating how microgravity affects the cellular and molecular mechanisms of normal bone tissue regeneration in space. (Returned on SpaceX-21)
- Real-Time Protein Crystal Growth-2 (RTPCG-2) – Investigating protein crystal growth in microgravity to identify possible targets for drugs to treat disease (Launched on NG-15)
- Ring Sheared Drop (RSD) – Examining the formation and flow of amyloid in microgravity to better understand neurodegenerative diseases
- Solid Fuel Ignition and Extinction (SoFIE) Facility — Studies ignition and flammability of solid spacecraft materials in practical geometries and realistic atmospheric conditions.
- Solid Fuel Ignition and Extinction – Growth and Extinction Limit (SoFIE-GEL) — Studies burning in microgravity, measuring the amount of heating in a fuel sample to determine how fuel temperature affects material flammability.
- Solid Fuel Ignition and Extinction – Material Ignition and Suppression Test (SoFIE-MIST) — Examines thermally-assisted burning in microgravity, by varying parameters including air flow speed, oxygen concentration, pressure, and level of external radiation.
- Understanding of Microgravity on Animal-Microbe Interactions (UMAMI) — Examining the effects of spaceflight on the molecular and chemical interactions between beneficial microbes and their animal hosts.
Low Earth Orbit
- Effect of Long Duration Space Exposure on Seeds – Investigating the effects of long duration exposure to microgravity and space radiation on seed viability. This is a collaboration between the United States Space Force and BPS.
Learn about more science launching to the Space Station.