Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency:JAXA
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Scientific Research Fields

Material science and life science are two scientific fields promoted in Kibo Utilization in microgravity. Material science in space aims at investigating fundamental phenomena such as solidification of materials and behaviors of a liquid, which are difficult to observe on Earth. Those results may lead to improvement of manufacturing processes of useful materials like semiconductors. Life science in space aims at understanding how organisms on Earth may adapt to the space environment and how organisms may avail themselves of microgravity to reside in space are studied.

JAXA’s material science experiments mainly focus on growth and structure of crystals, and convection phenomena around crystals, in order to attain knowledge to understand the fundamental mechanisms of physical phenomena related to the material creation processes. Crystals are important point to make various kinds of the material.

  • The concentration and temperature of solution around growing crystal and the shape of its interface will be observed real time in order to identify disordered-interface in the crystal growth and investigate subsequent crystal structures, which is the essential information for growing high-quality crystals.
  • Marangoni Convection is a surface-tension-driven flow, which occurs during the manufacturing of semiconductor crystals. Marangoni convection will be observed under the microgravity condition to systematically collect detailed data which are expected to clarify its flow transition scenarios and other unsolved questions.

JAXA’s life science experiments focus on functions of genes and proteins that control life phenomena to understand effects of the space environment (esp. microgravity and space radiation) on the life phenomena.

  • In order to attain knowledge on the mechanism of muscle atrophy in a microgravity environment using molecular biology methods, genes and proteins involved in muscle formation and degradation, which are expressed in the microgravity environment, will be analyzed.
  • In the microgravity environment, changes in the strength of a cell wall, which is dependent on gravitropism and gravitational change, will be studied by analyzing functions of genes and proteins of plants; resulting data are expected to clarify effects of microgravity on formation of morphology of plants and their life cycle.
  • In order to understand the interaction between microgravity and space radiation, biological effects of long-term exposure to low-dose space radiation will be analyzed on a genetic level to identify genes responding to space radiation.
  • The relationship between muscle atrophy and nerves, and effects of microgravity on the vestibular system and the central nerve network will be investigated analyzing expressions and functions of genes and proteins as indicators.
  Experiment Title Investigator
Fluid Physics Experiment Facility (FPEF) Chaos, Turbulence and its Transition Process in Marangoni Convection (Marangoni Exp) Tokyo University of Science,Suwa
Hiroshi Kawamura
Yokohama National University
Koichi Nishino
Spatio-temporal Flow Structure in Marangoni Convection (Marangoni UVP) ISAS, JAXA
Shinichi Yoda
Experimental Assessment of Dynamic Surface Deformation Effects in Transition to Oscillatory Thermo capillary Flow in Liquid Bridge of High Prandtl Number Fluid (Dynamic Surf) ISAS/JAXA
Satoshi Matsumoto /Yasuhiro Kamotani
Solution Crystallization Observation Facility (SCOF) Pattern Formation during Ice Crystal Growth (Ice Crystal) Hokkaido University
Yoshinori Furukawa
Investigation on Mechanism of Faceted Cellular Array Growth (Facet) ISAS, JAXA
Yuko Inatomi
Gradient Heating Furnace (GHF) Growth of Homogeneous SiGe Crystals in Microgravity by the TLZ Method (Hicari) ISAS, JAXA
Kyoichi Kinoshita
Cell Biology Experiment Facility (CBEF), Clean Bench (CB) Gene expression of p53-regulated Genes in Mammalian Cultured Cells after Exposure to Space Environment (Rad Gene) Nara Medical University
Takeo Ohnishi
Detection of Changes in LOH Profile of TK mutants of Human Cultured Cells (LOH) RIKEN
Fumio Yatagai
Control of cell differentiation and morphogenesis of amphibian culture cells (Dome Gene) University of Tokyo
Makoto Asashima
Integrated Assessment of Long-term Cosmic Radiation Through Biological Responses of the Silkworm, Bombyx mori, in Space (RadSilk) Kyoto Institute of Technology
Toshiharu Furusawa
RNA interference and protein phosphorylation in space environment using the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans (CERISE) Tohoku University
Atsushi Higashitani
Cbl-Mediated Protein Ubiquitination Downregulates the Response of Skeletal Muscle Cells to Growth Factors in Space (Myo Lab) University of Tokushima
Takeshi Nikawa
Hydrotropism and auxin-inducible gene expression in roots grown in microgravity conditions (Hydro Tropi) Tohoku University
Hideyuki Takahashi
Biological effects of space radiation and microgravity on mammalian cells (Neuro Rad) Kagoshima University
Hideyuki Majima
Life Cycle of Higher Plants under Microgravity Conditions (Space Seed) University of Toyama
Seiichiro Kamisaka
Regulation by Gravity of Ferulate Formation in Cell Walls of Wheat Seedlings (Ferulate) Osaka City University
Kazuyuki Wakabayashi

Applied Research Fields

In the applied research utilization, results of experiments in space will be applied to product developments on Earth aiming at betterment of our life. Research and development of protein crystal growth and nano material in space, for which effectiveness of space utilization has been proven by past ISS utilization activities, will be conducted in cooperation with industries and research institutes.

  • In the field of protein crystal growth, experiments will be conducted through collaboration with the “Targeted Proteins Research Program” promoted by the Government of Japan. Ultraprecise structure analysis of pathogenic proteins and functional proteins will be performed to meet the high needs, aiming at applying to pharmaceutical development.
  • In the field of nano material, functional material with regularly-structured nanoscale asperity (such as super-hydrophobic sheets), optical switches, photonic crystals with the potential application to optical sheets, and nanoscale structured photocatalysts will be created for applications to the ground.
  Experiment Title Investigator
Protein Crystallization Research Facility (PCRF) Protein Crystal Growth (JAXA PCG) Researchers in universities and research institutes are to be assigned.
Cell Biology Experiment Facility (CBEF) Applied research core center promotion program New material development Nagoya Institute of Technology
Takatoshi Kinoshita
Applied research core center promotion program Dynamics of Interfaces Tokyo University of Science
Masakazu Abe

Human Space Technology Development Fields

For the human space activities in future, clinical research of space medicine and technical demonstrations of human spaceflight technologies will be conducted aiming to contribute to health care of astronauts and development of human spaceflight technologies.

Especially in the field of space medicine, medical procedures or measures against possible health risks to Japanese astronauts, who will stay onboard the ISS for about six-month, will be established by prioritizing the issues, aiming to ensure their safer and more effective space activities.

Experiment Title Organization/Investigator
Area Passive Dosimeter for Lifescience Experiments in Space (Area PADLES) JAXA Space Environment Utilization Center
High Definition Television transmitting system (HDTV) JAXA Space Environment Utilization Center
Varidation of On-orbit Digital Holter ECG Monitering JAXA Human Space Technology and Astronauts Department
Bisphosphonates as a Countermeasure to Space Flight Induced Bone Loss University of Tokushima
Toshio Matsumoto

Educational and Cultural Utilization Fields

Educational activities such as on-orbit simple science experiments for students and pilot missions in humanities and social sciences will be conducted to attract more people to science, technology and space development, and to engage them in Kibo program.

Experiment Title Organization
Space Poem Chain JAXA Space Environment Utilization Center
Pilot missions for utilization for culture and humanty and social sciences Tokyo University of the Arts
University of Tsukuba
Ochanomizu University
Kyoto City University of Arts

Commercial Utilization Fields

Fee-based utilization of Kibo is available to unrestricted research groups for commercial use. Costs involved in the operation will be paid by each user. The results obtained through the utilization will belong to the user.

Exposed Facility (EF) Experiments

Astronomical observations, Earth observations, Communication, various science and engineering experiments or Material experiments will be conducted on the Exposed Facility (EF), by utilizing the microgravity and high vacuum environment.

Experiment Title Organization
Research on Long-and Short-Term Variations of ALL Sky A-ray Sources (MAXI) ISAS, JAXA
Space Environment Data Acquisition equipment - Attached Payload (SEDA-AP) ARD,JAXA
Superconducting Submillimeter-Wave Limb-Emission Sounder (SMILES) ISAS, JAXA
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