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NPJ Microgravity

Ezinwa Elele, Yueyang Shen, John Tang, Qian Lei, Boris Khusid
Today's trends for enhancing boiling heat transfer in terrestrial and space applications focus on removal of bubbles to prevent formation of a vapor layer over the surface at high overheat. In contrast, this paper presents a new boiling regime that employs a vapor-air bubble residing on a small heater for minutes and driving cold water over the surface to provide high heat flux. Single-bubble boiling of water was investigated under normal gravity and low gravity in parabolic flights. Experiments demonstrated a negligible effect of gravity level on the rate of heat transfer from the heater...
2018: NPJ Microgravity
Jörn Rittweger, Kirsten Albracht, Martin Flück, Severin Ruoss, Lorenza Brocca, Emanuela Longa, Manuela Moriggi, Olivier Seynnes, Irene Di Giulio, Leonardo Tenori, Alessia Vignoli, Miriam Capri, Cecilia Gelfi, Claudio Luchinat, Claudio Franceschi, Roberto Bottinelli, Paolo Cerretelli, Marco Narici
[This corrects the article DOI: 10.1038/s41526-018-0052-1.].
2018: NPJ Microgravity
Guowei Liu, Daniel Bollier, Christian Gübeli, Noemi Peter, Peter Arnold, Marcel Egli, Lorenzo Borghi
Human-assisted space exploration will require efficient methods of food production. Large-scale farming in presence of an Earth-like atmosphere in space faces two main challenges: plant yield in microgravity and plant nutrition in extraterrestrial soils, which are likely low in nutrients compared to terrestrial farm lands. We propose a plant-fungal symbiosis (i.e. mycorrhiza) as an efficient tool to increase plant biomass production in extraterrestrial environments. We tested the mycorrhization of Solanaceae on the model plant Petunia hybrida using the arbuscular mycorrhizal fungus Rhizophagus irregularis under simulated microgravity ( s0-g ) conditions obtained through a 3-D random positioning machine...
2018: NPJ Microgravity
Takuya Kurazumi, Yojiro Ogawa, Hiroshi Morisaki, Ken-Ichi Iwasaki
Short-duration spaceflight induces an approximately 10% reduction in plasma volume, which leads to mild volume depletion. In a previous study, we found that mild volume depletion improved dynamic cerebral autoregulation. However, the effect of mild volume depletion on intracranial pressure (ICP) remains unknown. Therefore, we estimated ICP noninvasively (nICP), and calculated two indices relating to ICP, the cerebral artery compliance and the cerebral blood flow pulsatility index (PI), to examine whether ICP would decrease due to a mild decrement in plasma volume...
2018: NPJ Microgravity
Jörn Rittweger, Kirsten Albracht, Martin Flück, Severin Ruoss, Lorenza Brocca, Emanuela Longa, Manuela Moriggi, Olivier Seynnes, Irene Di Giulio, Leonardo Tenori, Alessia Vignoli, Miriam Capri, Cecilia Gelfi, Claudio Luchinat, Claudio Francheschi, Roberto Bottinelli, Paolo Cerretelli, Marco Narici
Spaceflight causes muscle wasting. The Sarcolab pilot study investigated two astronauts with regards to plantar flexor muscle size, architecture, and function, and to the underlying molecular adaptations in order to further the understanding of muscular responses to spaceflight and exercise countermeasures. Two crew members (A and B) spent 6 months in space. Crew member A trained less vigorously than B. Postflight, A showed substantial decrements in plantar flexor volume, muscle architecture, in strength and in fiber contractility, which was strongly mitigated in B...
2018: NPJ Microgravity
Kyoung Jae Kim, Yoav Gimmon, Sharmeen Sorathia, Kara H Beaton, Michael C Schubert
Long duration space flight is known to induce severe modifications in the sensorimotor and musculoskeletal systems. While in-flight strategies including physical fitness have been used to prevent the loss of bone and muscle mass using appropriate rehabilitative countermeasures, less attention has been put forth in the design of technologies that can quickly and effectively assess sensorimotor function during missions in space. The aims of the present study were therefore (1) to develop a Portable Sensorimotor Assessment Platform (PSAP) to enable a crewmember to independently and quickly assess his/her sensorimotor function during the NASA's Extreme Environment Mission Operations (NEEMO) and (2) to investigate changes in performance of static posture, tandem gait, and lower limb ataxia due to exposure in an extreme environment...
2018: NPJ Microgravity
Ethan R Elliott, Markus C Krutzik, Jason R Williams, Robert J Thompson, David C Aveline
We report the status of the Cold Atom Lab (CAL) instrument to be operated aboard the International Space Station (ISS). Utilizing a compact atom chip-based system to create ultracold mixtures and degenerate samples of 87 Rb, 39 K, and 41 K, CAL is a multi-user facility developed by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory to provide the first persistent quantum gas platform in the microgravity conditions of space. Within this unique environment, atom traps can be decompressed to arbitrarily weak confining potentials, producing a new regime of picokelvin temperatures and ultra-low densities...
2018: NPJ Microgravity
Christopher E Carr, Noelle C Bryan, Kendall N Saboda, Srinivasa A Bhattaru, Gary Ruvkun, Maria T Zuber
Parabolic flights provide cost-effective, time-limited access to "weightless" or reduced gravity conditions, facilitating research and validation activities that complement infrequent and costly access to space. Although parabolic flights have been conducted for decades, reference acceleration profiles and processing methods are not widely available. Here we present a solution for collecting, analyzing, and classifying the altered gravity environments experienced during parabolic flights, which we validated during a Boeing 727-200F flight with 20 parabolas...
2018: NPJ Microgravity
Jonathan Baio, Aida F Martinez, Ivan Silva, Carla V Hoehn, Stephanie Countryman, Leonard Bailey, Nahidh Hasaniya, Michael J Pecaut, Mary Kearns-Jonker
The heart and its cellular components are profoundly altered by missions to space and injury on Earth. Further research, however, is needed to characterize and address the molecular substrates of such changes. For this reason, neonatal and adult human cardiovascular progenitor cells (CPCs) were cultured aboard the International Space Station. Upon return to Earth, we measured changes in the expression of microRNAs and of genes related to mechanotransduction, cardiogenesis, cell cycling, DNA repair, and paracrine signaling...
2018: NPJ Microgravity
Takuma Furukawa, Keiji Tanimoto, Takahiro Fukazawa, Takeshi Imura, Yumi Kawahara, Louis Yuge
[This corrects the article DOI: 10.1038/s41526-018-0045-0.].
2018: NPJ Microgravity
Peipei Xu, Haiying Chen, Jing Jin, Weiming Cai
DNA methylation is a very important epigenetic modification that participates in many biological functions. Although many studies of DNA methylation have been reported in various plant species, few studies have assessed the global DNA methylation pattern in plants challenged by exposure to microgravity conditions. In this report, we mapped the Arabidopsis genome methylation pattern changes associated with microgravity conditions on board the Chinese recoverable scientific satellite SJ-10 at single-base resolution...
2018: NPJ Microgravity
Takuma Furukawa, Keiji Tanimoto, Takahiro Fukazawa, Takeshi Imura, Yumi Kawahara, Louis Yuge
The molecular mechanisms involved in myogenic differentiation are relatively well-known. Myogenic differentiation is regulated by the sequential activation of the basic helix-loop-helix myogenic regulatory transcription factors (MRFs), and biomechanical signals play an important role in the regulation of myogenesis. In this study, we sought to determine whether simulated microgravity culture using Gravite® may affect myoblast differentiation and expression of MRF genes. Although rat myoblasts, L6 cells were differentiated to myotubes in an incubation period-dependent manner, myogenesis of L6 cells was significantly attenuated under simulated microgravity (10-3 G) conditions...
2018: NPJ Microgravity
Nevin Brosius, Kevin Ward, Satoshi Matsumoto, Michael SanSoucie, Ranga Narayanan
In this work, a method for the measurement of surface tension using continuous periodic forcing is presented. To reduce gravitational effects, samples are electrostatically levitated prior to forcing. The method, called Faraday forcing, is particularly well suited for fluids that require high temperature measurements such as liquid metals where conventional surface tension measurement methods are not possible. It offers distinct advantages over the conventional pulse-decay analysis method when the sample viscosity is high or the levitation feedback control system is noisy...
2018: NPJ Microgravity
Aránzazu Manzano, Raúl Herranz, Leonardus A den Toom, Sjoerd Te Slaa, Guus Borst, Martijn Visser, F Javier Medina, Jack J W A van Loon
Clinostats and Random Positioning Machine (RPM) are used to simulate microgravity, but, for space exploration, we need to know the response of living systems to fractional levels of gravity (partial gravity) as they exist on Moon and Mars. We have developed and compared two different paradigms to simulate partial gravity using the RPM, one by implementing a centrifuge on the RPM (RPMHW ), the other by applying specific software protocols to driving the RPM motors (RPMSW ). The effects of the simulated partial gravity were tested in plant root meristematic cells, a system with known response to real and simulated microgravity...
2018: NPJ Microgravity
Jeffery C Chancellor, Rebecca S Blue, Keith A Cengel, Serena M Auñón-Chancellor, Kathleen H Rubins, Helmut G Katzgraber, Ann R Kennedy
Despite years of research, understanding of the space radiation environment and the risk it poses to long-duration astronauts remains limited. There is a disparity between research results and observed empirical effects seen in human astronaut crews, likely due to the numerous factors that limit terrestrial simulation of the complex space environment and extrapolation of human clinical consequences from varied animal models. Given the intended future of human spaceflight, with efforts now to rapidly expand capabilities for human missions to the moon and Mars, there is a pressing need to improve upon the understanding of the space radiation risk, predict likely clinical outcomes of interplanetary radiation exposure, and develop appropriate and effective mitigation strategies for future missions...
2018: NPJ Microgravity
Simon L Wuest, Benjamin Gantenbein, Fabian Ille, Marcel Egli
Advances in electrophysiological experiments have led to the discovery of mechanosensitive ion channels (MSCs) and the identification of the physiological function of specific MSCs. They are believed to play important roles in mechanosensitive pathways by allowing for cells to sense their mechanical environment. However, the physiological function of many MSCs has not been conclusively identified. Therefore, experiments have been developed that expose cells to various mechanical loads, such as shear flow, membrane indentation, osmotic challenges and hydrostatic pressure...
2018: NPJ Microgravity
William R Carpentier, John B Charles, Mark Shelhamer, Amanda S Hackler, Tracy L Johnson, Catherine M M Domingo, Jeffrey P Sutton, Graham B I Scott, Virginia E Wotring
The United States first sent humans into space during six flights of Project Mercury from May 1961 to May 1963. These flights were brief, with durations ranging from about 15 min to just over 34 h. A primary purpose of the project was to determine if humans could perform meaningful tasks while in space. This was supported by a series of biomedical measurements on each astronaut before, during (when feasible), and after flight to document the effects of exposure to the spaceflight environment. While almost all of the data presented here have been published in technical reports, this is the first integrated summary of the main results...
2018: NPJ Microgravity
Matthieu Komorowski, Sarah Fleming, Mala Mawkin, Jochen Hinkelbein
Future space exploration missions will take humans far beyond low Earth orbit and require complete crew autonomy. The ability to provide anaesthesia will be important given the expected risk of severe medical events requiring surgery. Knowledge and experience of such procedures during space missions is currently extremely limited. Austere and isolated environments (such as polar bases or submarines) have been used extensively as test beds for spaceflight to probe hazards, train crews, develop clinical protocols and countermeasures for prospective space missions...
2018: NPJ Microgravity
Nabarun Chakraborty, Amrita Cheema, Aarti Gautam, Duncan Donohue, Allison Hoke, Carolynn Conley, Marti Jett, Rasha Hammamieh
Spaceflight presents a spectrum of stresses very different from those associated with terrestrial conditions. Our previous study (BMC Genom. 15 : 659, 2014) integrated the expressions of mRNAs, microRNAs, and proteins and results indicated that microgravity induces an immunosuppressive state that can facilitate opportunistic pathogenic attack. However, the existing data are not sufficient for elucidating the molecular drivers of the given immunosuppressed state. To meet this knowledge gap, we focused on the metabolite profile of spaceflown human cells...
2018: NPJ Microgravity
Jessica Fischer, Christian Laforsch
For future manned long-d uration space missions, the supply of essentials, such as food, water, and oxygen with the least possible material resupply from Earth is vital. This need could be satisfied utilizing aquatic bioregenerative life support systems (BLSS), as they facilitate recycling and autochthonous production. However, few organisms can cope with the instable environmental conditions and organic pollution potentially prevailing in such BLSS. Ostracoda, however, occur in eu- and even hypertrophic waters, tolerate organic and chemical waste, varying temperatures, salinity, and pH ranges...
2018: NPJ Microgravity
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