NASA is developing new hardware to enable long duration cell biology research in space. The goal of the Cell Biology Tech Demo is to demonstrate critical Bioculture System-component crew operations aboard the ISS and the ability of hardware components to interface with existing laboratory facilities on orbit.
The Plant Signaling experiment studied the effects of microgravity on plant growth. During long-term space exploration it will be necessary to provide astronauts with regenerative sources of food. As new information about how plants grown in microgravity emerges, sustainable plant-based life support systems may be developed.
There is an urgent need to understand the effects of microgravity on the growth, cellular physiology, and cell-cell interactions in microbial biofilms. This information can then be used to curtail harmful activities of microbial consortia thriving as biofilms on the International Space Station and for the long-term success of human space exploration.
The Flight Systems Implementation Branch developed hardware enhancements including video recording and water delivery capabilities for the newt and gecko space biology experiments for the Russian Foton-M3 mission launched onboard the Soyuz-U rocket September 14, 2007 from Kazakhstan.