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Experiment

"Effect of space environment on mammalian reproduction (Space Pup)" experiment has started on Kibo

Last Updated: September 19, 2013

Japanese Experiment Module "Kibo"s life science experiment "Effect of space environment on mammalian reproduction (Space Pup)" has started.

*Principal Investigator (PI): Teruhiko Wakayama, Professor, University of Yamanashi


For this experiment the samples of freeze-dried mouse spermatozoa were carried to the International Space Station (ISS) to cryopreserve them for a long time on the ISS. The spermatozoa will be returned to Earth and fertilized through microinsemination (injecting male germ cells directly into an oocyte using microscope).

Then, the experiment examines the space sperm fertility, effects of space radiation, rate of DNA damage (or repair), normality of early development, and most importantly, the birth rate of mouse pups.

Through this experiment, basic data to understand how a long-term stay in space affects human being as well as to prove germ cells are storable in space. This experiment seeks if it can be an ultimate germplasm preservation in a severe environment such as space or on the moon.

The sample cases containing the freeze-dried mouse sperm was launched aboard the H-II Transfer Vehicle KOUNOTORI4 (HTV4) on August 4, 2013. After the arrival at the ISS, astronaut Karen Nyberg stored them in the freezer section of the Minus Eighty degree Celsius Laboratory Freezer for ISS (MELFI) on Kibo at 10:43 pm, August 10.

The sample cases containing the freeze-dried mouse sperm was launched aboard the H-II Transfer Vehicle KOUNOTORI4 (HTV4) on August 4, 2013. After the arrival at the ISS, astronaut Karen Nyberg stored them in the freezer section of the Minus Eighty degree Celsius Laboratory Freezer for ISS (MELFI) on Kibo at 10:43 pm, August 10.

Three sample cases were carried in the Space Pup experiment. To examine the changes over time, the samples will be returned one by one, for three times in two years. The first sample will be returned aboard SpaceX-3. Using the samples, the space sperm fertility, effects of space radiation, rate of DNA damage (or repair), normality of early development, and most importantly, the birth rate of mouse pups will be examined. By these researches, how preservation in space environment affects the perfection of spermatozoa.

This theme was selected as one of the utilization themes for the second phase of the Kibo PM (Japanese Fiscal Year 2009).

Space Pup experiment: abstract [PDF: 46KB]

Besides the samples of Space pup, KOUNOTORI4 also carried the samples of Resist Tubule, Aniso Tubule, and Asian Seed 2013 experiments.

*All times are Japan Standard Time (JST)

 
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