Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency:JAXA
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Selected "General Research Proposals"

Research field Life Science 1
Title "Microbe" : Microbiological monitoring in the International Space Station - KIBO
Principal Investigator Masao Nasu
Microbes exist everywhere even in space habitat and microbial ecosystem may differ from that on Earth in space habitation environments. Researches on the relationship between human and microbes in this closed environment are indispensable for success in long-duration space habitation. We focus on microbiological monitoring from the view point of environmental microbiology in space facilities in order to reduce potential hazards for the crew and infrastructure. We continue and expand the on-going microbiological monitoring in the KIBO, the program named "Microbe", and we accumulate fundamental data on microbial dynamics in space habitation environment to define correct upper and lower thresholds for indoor environmental quality control of air, water, and surfaces in this unique habitat.

Research field Life Science 2
Title Research on inhibitory effects of novel concept biomaterials, a HSP inducer and ubiquitin ligase inhibitor, on microgravity-induced muscle atrophy
Principal Investigator Ken Nikawa
Space microgravity directly induces muscle cell atrophy by reduction in protein synthesis rates and increase in protein degradation rate. Not like the spaceflight experiment, muscle cell atrophy on ground can be induced by chemical agents like dexamethasone or 3-dimensional clinorotation which are indeed artificial factors. Therefore, development of anti-atrophy remedy for unloaded cells needs to be tested under a real microgravity condition, even if such anti-atrophic investigation has been thoroughly performed by on-ground studies. Our experiment therefore is aimed (1) to define an appropriate protocol with novel anti-atrophy biomaterials (i.e. a HSP inducer, Celastrol, a quinone methide triterpene, and a ubiquitin ligase Cbl-b inhibitor, C14-Cblin, N-myristoylated pentapeptide) on the ground, (2) to develop a user-friendly microbioreactor for muscle cell studies on ground as well as in ISS, and (3) to examine the inhibitory effects of our developed anti-atrophy biomaterials on muscle atrophy in L6 cells cultured on ISS. These objectives are expected to provide fundamental documents not only for the microgravity effect on muscle cell (relative to ground condition), but also for proper utilization of the microbioreactor for various cell cultures including neuron, muscle, bone, and so forth in ISS.

Research field Space Medicine
Title Non-invasive assessment of intracranial pressure for space flight and related visual impairment
Principal Investigator Kenichi Iwasaki
The primary objective of this study is to non-invasively estimate the changes in intracranial pressure and cerebral circulation induced by long-duration space flight, from arterial blood pressure and cerebral blood flow velocity waveforms. Our hypothesis is that the estimated intracranial pressure increases after long-duration space flight with clinically significant changes in ocular structure and visual acuity.

Research field Physical science
Title Interfacial phenomena and thermophysical properties of high-temperature liquids
-Fundamental research of steel processing using electrostatic levitation-
Principal Investigator Masahito Watanabe
The purpose of this research project is to clarify the interfacial phenomena between the molten steel and the oxide melts, usually called slag, during the steel processing from the viewpoints of thermophysical properties of these liquids. In this project, using an electrostatic levitation furnace we obtain density, surface tension and viscosity of oxide melts and also try to obtain interfacial tension between the molten steel and the oxide melts by oscillating drop technique. The research work contributes the precise process control for the high advantage steels.

Research field Technology Development (Two proposals were selected under the condition that they will be conducted as one experiment)
Title (1) Space Environment Exposure Tests of Functional Thin Film Devices for Future Solar Sail Mission
(2) Space Environmental Testing of Lightweight and High-Precision Carbon Composite Mirrors
Principal Investigator (1) Yoji Shirasawa
(2) Toshiyuki Nishibori
(1) This experiment evaluates the effects of space environment exposure on thin film solar cells and other devices which constitute "solar power sail" proposed for future deep space exploration by extending the concept of solar sail. By comparing the flight data of the world's first deep space solar power sail demonstrator "IKAROS", the results of evaluation of recovered samples will contribute to the development of space functional thin film devices.
(2) Realizing the lightweight and high-precision mirrors applicable in the wavelengths from submillimeter to optical is essential for the antennas and telescopes of next generation's astronomical and earth observation satellites. Carbon Fiber Reinforced Plastics (CFRP) replica technique is a new achievement in the space telescopes. The great advantages of a CFRP mirror are lightweight, high surface accuracy, high thermal stability, and low manufacture cost. This experiment studies the deterioration and the long-term effect of the CFRP replicated mirrors when they are exposed to the complex space environment.

Selected prioritized research proposals
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