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NPJ Microgravity

Tatiana Borisova
Establishment of high-quality, consistent on-board assessment of the neurotoxicity of planetary, and interstellar dust particles will be required to predict their potential threat to human health during long-term space missions. This Perspective article proposes an approach for the rapid assessment of potential neurotoxicity of micro-sized and nano-sized dust particles based on experimental results with other neurotoxic particles. Capacity of particles to affect membrane potential, integrity of nerve terminals, and consequently key synaptic transmission characteristics can be assessed using a planar lipid bilayer technique by monitoring artificial membrane conductivity in the presence of particles...
2019: NPJ Microgravity
Michael D Morrison, Patricia Fajardo-Cavazos, Wayne L Nicholson
The human spaceflight environment is notable for the unique factor of microgravity, which exerts numerous physiologic effects on macroscopic organisms, but how this environment may affect single-celled microbes is less clear. In an effort to understand how the microbial transcriptome responds to the unique environment of spaceflight, the model Gram-positive bacterium Bacillus subtilis was flown on two separate missions to the International Space Station in experiments dubbed BRIC-21 and BRIC-23. Cells were grown to late-exponential/early stationary phase, frozen, then returned to Earth for RNA-seq analysis in parallel with matched ground control samples...
2019: NPJ Microgravity
Alexandrea A Duscher, Ana Conesa, Mary Bishop, Madeline M Vroom, Sergio D Zubizarreta, Jamie S Foster
For long-duration space missions, it is critical to maintain health-associated homeostasis between astronauts and their microbiome. To achieve this goal it is important to more fully understand the host-symbiont relationship under the physiological stress conditions of spaceflight. To address this issue we examined the impact of a spaceflight analog, low-shear-modeled microgravity (LSMMG), on the transcriptome of the mutualistic bacterium Vibrio fischeri . Cultures of V. fischeri and a mutant defective in the global regulator Hfq (∆ hfq ) were exposed to either LSMMG or gravity conditions for 12 h (exponential growth) and 24 h (stationary phase growth)...
2018: NPJ Microgravity
Lin He, Shiwei Wang, Marta Cortesão, Muying Wu, Ralf Moeller, Peter Setlow, Yong-Qing Li
Outer space is a challenging environment for all forms of life, and dormant spores of bacteria have been frequently used to study the survival of terrestrial life in a space journey. Previous work showed that outer space vacuum alone can kill bacterial spores. However, the responses and mechanisms of resistance of individual spores to space vacuum are unclear. Here, we examined spores' molecular changes under simulated space vacuum (~10-5  Pa) using micro-Raman spectroscopy and found that this vacuum did not cause significant denaturation of spore protein...
2018: NPJ Microgravity
John Kelly Smith
We have previously reported that exercise-related secretion of IL-6 by peripheral blood mononuclear cells is proportionate to body weight, suggesting that IL-6 is gravisensitive and that suboptimal production of this key cytokine may contribute to homeostatic dysregulations that occur during spaceflight. This review details what is known about the role of this key cytokine in innate and adaptive immunity, hematopoiesis, and in bone, muscle and metabolic homeostasis on Earth and in the microgravity of space and suggests an experimental approach to confirm or disavow the role of IL-6 in space-related dysregulations...
2018: NPJ Microgravity
Douglas M Matson
Ternary Fe-Cr-Ni stainless steel alloys often exhibit a multi-step transformation known as double recalescence where primary ferrite converts to austenite during rapid solidification processes such as casting and welding. In addition to the volume free energy associated with undercooling between the phases, the free energy driving the transformation comes from two additional sources that are retained within the metastable solid-one from the primary phase undercooling and one from melt shear. A new physical model is proposed based on accumulation of defects, such as dislocations or tilt boundaries, and lattice strain...
2018: 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
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