2010 Summer Interns - Space Shuttle Project
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Space Shuttle
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Space Shuttle Project

This summer we had the opportunity to begin work on an experiment to be sent aboard the next NASA space shuttle expedition. The experiment, which consists of two small wells of liquid to be combined in microgravity, will provide inspiration for development of classroom curriculum. Students at Ballard High School will continue the project during the 2010-2011 school year, designing a proposal and preparing materials for the NASA shuttle experiment and other background work.

Preliminary literature searches have shown exciting possibilities for measurable effects of microgravity on bacteria. Bacterial studies in space are of special interest because research has shown that human immune systems are compromised in space environments, while bacteria are strengthened. Current research is based both on experiments flown on space voyages and done in microgravity simulators. As part of our work this summer, we have begun developing simple simulators (similar to a clinostat) to mimic the effects of microgravity on bacteria. We are also working on high gravity simulations in an effort to understand the range of effects of gravity on bacteria.

For information on the stipulations of the NASA experiment, see this website.

Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.

Institute for Systems Biology, 1441 North 34th Street, Seattle, WA 98103-8904