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Experiment

Last Updated: May 12, 2009

BEUs meet the demand of various experiments for micro-gravity

CEU CEU2
PEU MEU
BEU Series
 

Description

Canisters are set on CBEF micro-gravity sample tray and a turntable

Engineers are checking a PEU captured image through CBEF on IPU monitor.

The BEU Series are the equipment dedicated to life-science experiment on the International Space Station. Four types* of BEU have been developed to support typical life science experiments in the KIBO/ISS. (Refer to following pages for the individual BEU types.) The BEU installed in the CBEF which provides general environment controls such as temperature, humidity and CO2 concentration.

The BEU, connected to the external PC, performs various functions as followings automatically, which are required in life-science experiment.

  • Culture-medium exchange
  • Water delivery
  • Air circulation
  • Data acquisition(Temperature, Humidity)
  • Video capture
  • Sample fixation and/or collectio

*Plant Experiment Unit (PEU)
Cell Experiment Unit type 1(CEU)
Cell Experiment Unit type 2(CEU2)
Measurement Unit(MEU)

CBEF: Cell Biology Experiment Facility
IPU: Image Processing Unit

 

Control from the earth

The data communication which enables researchers to acquire real-time data and control operation from the ground

The experiment operation center for KIBO is set up on Tsukuba Space Center.
The researcher can monitor down-linked data and send up-link commands which control the operation of the BEU, if required, from the experiment operation center.

Available data on the ground are as follows:

  • Temperature and Humidity
    (Both inside cultivation container and environment surrounding the container)
  • Operation logs of the mechanical components
  • Observation image
 

PEU Description

The experiment unit equipped with basic functions for plant cultivation

1,2 PEU
3 Plant chamber
4,5 Arabidopsis thaliana is the model plant

The PEU encases components, required for plant cultivation experiment, in the canister. They are a plant growth container, a water delivery control system, an air ventilation control system, an illumination system (LED), a CCD camera, a temperature sensor and a humidity sensor.

When the operation command is sent to the PEU from the PC, the PEU controls functions of components. Thus, the PEU enables to conduct a plant growth experiment through the life cycle from seed to seed. Also the researcher can monitor operational data such as temperature, humidity and water content of the plant bed, and observe real-time image of the growing plant.

After the experiment, a sample recovery, a fixation or a freezing are possible utilizing the dedicated tools and freezers.

Setting for PEU operation on the ground


Specifications:

    Engineers check plant condition

  • Size: W210 mm x H80 mm x D130 mm
  • Mass: 2,500 g (at the maximum)
  • Capacity of the plant growth container: 120 ml (Shoot Height: 50 mm)
  • Main components:
    • Water delivery pump
    • Ventilation pump
    • Air circulation fan
    • Color CCD camera
    • Illumination for plant growth; Blue(470 nm) and Red(660 nm) LEDs
    • Illumination for observation; White LEDs
    • Water content sensor
    • Temperature/humidity sensor
    • Water bag

Operational parameter settings for a model experiment

  • Growth container temperature: 22 deg. C ± 1
  • Growth container humidity: 70 - 80 %RH
  • Illumination: 190 micro-mol/m2 sec
  • Plant bed: Rock wool
  • Experiment duration: 40 to 60 days
 

CEU Description

The experiment unit equipped with basic functions for cell cultivation

1 CEU
2 Culture cell
3 Culture chambers
4 Pre Fixation Kit
5 Cell Fixation Kit

The CEU encases components, required for cell culture experiments, in the canister. They are culture chambers, a culture medium exchange system, a temperature sensor and a humidity sensor. When the operation command is sent to the CEU from the PC, the CEU controls functions of components and performs cell cultivation automatically.

The culture chamber is equivalent in cell growth and microscopic observation with a commercial T-type culture flask.

The whole fluid loop is sterilized and closed to prevent contamination. The culture chamber is able to detach from and attach to the CEU easily with the sterile joint.

A recovery, an extraction pretreatment and a fixation of cells are possible in the culture chamber utilizing the dedicated tools.

 

Specifications:

  • Size: W210 mm x H80 mm x D130 mm
  • Mass: 2,500 g (at the maximum)
  • Number of culture chambers: two
  • Cultivation area of the chamber: 10 cm2, 30 cm2
  • Medium capacity of the chamber: 3 ml, 9 ml
  • Main components:
    • Culture medium circulation pump
    • Fresh medium container (80 ml total)
    • Spent medium container
    • Temperature/humidity sensor
Cell culture experiment
Day6 Day9 Day15
Upper:Culture chamber
Lower:T25 flask

Operational parameter settings for a model experiment

Engineer is operating the chambers

  • Cultivation temperature: 37 deg. C ± 1
  • Environment humidity: 90 %RH
  • CO2 concentration: 5 %
  • Experiment duration: 10 days

 

CEU2 Description

The experiment unit which enables cultivation and fixation of floating organisms.

Culture chambers lit by lazer light

Large size canister on a turntable of the CBEF

Culture chamber

Video image from CCD camera

The CEU2 encases components, required for floating organism culture experiments, in the canister. They are culture chambers, an organism dilution system, a sampling/fixing system, an observation system, a temperature sensor and a humidity sensor. After manual inoculation of the organism, the CEU2 performs cultivation, dilution, sampling and fixation automatically.

The CEU2 has two culture chambers. Each chamber has the independent organism dilution system and sampling/fixing system. During dilution operation, organisms which are pushed off from the chamber can be sampled and fixed in the sampling/fixing system. The sampling/fixing system has nine sampling bags that hold fixing agent. The sampling/fixing system is detachable from the CEU2 and can be stowed in a refrigerator.

The mounted CCD camera provides the images of cultivation areas of the chambers which are illuminated by the laser. The user is able to count numbers of organisms by the down-linked images.

Specifications:

  • Size: W290 mm x H220 mm x D160 mm
  • Mass: 5,600 g (at the maximum)
  • Number of culture chambers: two
  • Cultivation space of the chamber: 3 mm x 3 mm x 60 mm
  • Number of sampling bags: nine (for each culture chamber)
  • Capacity of the bag: 1.5 ml
  • Main components:
    • Culture medium pump
    • Fresh medium container (50 ml for each culture chamber)
    • Spent medium container
    • Flow control valves
    • CCD camera
    • Illumination laser
    • Sampling unit rotation motor
    • Temperature/humidity sensor

Operational parameter settings for a model experiment

  • Cultivation temperature: 24 deg. C ± 1
  • Environment humidity: 90 %RH
  • Experiment duration: 30 days
 

MEU Description

The experiment unit for a simple cultivation of sample

The MEU has been developed to support cultivation experiments which do not require automatic operations. It is a kind of container having a holding mechanism for cultivation chambers. A commercial T25 cultivation flask or other types of flask can be installed into the MEU.

Thermocouple (temperature sensor) is installed near the container so that researchers on the ground can monitor the temperatures of the cultivation area real time. The MEU has an auxiliary port to which some electrical equipment can be installed on a user’s preference.

Video Measurement Unit (V-MEU) also has been developed .V-MEU has a video camera and white LEDs as an illumination.

 

Specifications:

  • Size: W210 mm x H80 mm x D130 mm
  • Mass: 2,500 g (at the maximum)
  • Containable capacity: 1300 cm3 approx. (Six-T25 flasks are containable.)
  • Main components:
    • Temperature sensor

1 MEU 2 Chambers on the microscope 3 Investigators check image of culture cell on the CB LCD monitor 5,6 Cultured Cell 7 Video Measurement Unit:V-MEU)and sample chamber

CB: Clean Bench

 
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