JAXA Space Plant Research on the ISS with European Modular Cultivation System
Kamada M, Omori K, Nishitani K, Hoson T, Shimazu T, Ishioka N
Biological Sciences in Space 21: 62-66
The European Modular Cultivation System (EMCS) installed within the US laboratory module, Destiny, and/or the European experiment module, Columbus, onboard the International Space Station (ISS), is an ESA facility available for plant research and biological experiments. The EMCS facility uses standard experiment containers (ECs) mounted on centrifuges and provides life support such as water and gas supply systems as well as observation systems. The experiment-specific hardware such as the plant cultivation chamber, root phototropism observation chamber, and plant root gravitropism observation chamber is integrated into the EC. JAXA has five themes concerning space plant research, of which two-Cell Wall and Resist Wall-will include conducting space experiments using the EMCS facility; according to the present shuttle flight schedule, they are due to be launched in mid February 2007. The objectives of the Cell Wall / Resist Wall experiment include in-orbit growth of 10-cm-long inflorescence stems of Arabidopsis and subsequent, post-flight morphology, biological, gene expression, and cell-wall properties analyses on the ground. In this article, we describe the EMCS facility, the plant cultivation and onboard chemical fixation system. Furthermore, we also discuss the verification experiments conducted by JAXA.