ARK2 Mission, CASIS. Advancing Research Knowledge.
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Advancing Research Knowledge 2, or “ARK2”, represents the second series of research investigations brokered by CASIS that are destined for the International Space Station (ISS) U.S. National Laboratory. The mission of CASIS is to manage, promote, and broker research investigations on the ISS National Laboratory intended to benefit life on Earth. During ARK2, CASIS is continuing to enhance the research portfolio onboard the ISS with life and materials sciences research as well as hardware capable of enabling new types of investigations. Below is an overview of the research manifested for ARK2.

For the benefit of humankind...
LAUNCH PROVIDER / PAYLOADS



SPACE-X 4, DRAGON

LAUNCH: September 21, 2014


RESEARCH PAYLOADS ONBOARD:

  • BONE DENSITOMETER
    TechShot


    As part of a matching Grant Agreement with CASIS/NASA and the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program, a bone densitometer (which measures bone density—the same technique used on Earth to diagnose and monitor osteoporosis patients) is being deployed for on-orbit animal research.

    This tool will complement the new rodent habitat, also new to the ISS. The rodent habitat will be capable of transporting animals for long-duration experiments, which will allow the study of space effects on body systems, including bone loss studies that will use the densitometer.

    Such research may yield important insights into mechanisms of and treatments for bone loss.



  • COBRA PUMA GOLF MATERIALS TESTING IN MICROGRAVITY
    (CSI-06)
    Cobra Puma Golf


    The COBRA PUMA Golf project will examine a variety of coatings and metals used in golf products, and the differences in bonding, strength, and weight of the resulting materials will be analyzed in a microgravity environment.

    Better understanding the underlying processes involved in these various materials will help to optimize the development of stronger and lighter alloys on the ground.


  • DRUG DEVELOPMENT AND HUMAN BIOLOGY
    Dr. Timothy Hammond, Veterans Affairs Medical Center


    This project will use a yeast-based experimental system to study cancer drug mechanisms and side effects at the cellular level.

    The space station environment alters the metabolism of yeast differently than ground-based investigations under the influence of gravity. Distinct results from spaceflight investigations supplement terrestrial research and provide novel information about critical cellular functions.

    Almost 40% of human genes are also found in yeast, including genetic instructions ordering cells to grow and divide. ISS findings may lead to diversified uses for existing treatments (”drug repurposing”) as well as the development of new anti-cancer drugs.


  • OPTIMIZATION OF PROTEIN CRYSTAL GROWTH FOR DETERMINATION OF ENZYME MECHANISMS THROUGH ADVANCED DIFFRACTION TECHNIQUES
    Dr. Constance Schall, University of Toledo


    This investigation focuses on growing crystals of three proteins that are involved in Salmonella infection, peptic ulcer disease, and multi-drug resistance, as well as proteins that can serve as indicators of heart attack and liver disease.

    Potential benefits from this investigation may include a better understanding of the function of these proteins as well as improved drug design based on the structure of proteins involved in disease.



  • RODENT RESEARCH-1
    Novartis,
    Principle Investigator: Dr. Samuel Cadena


    A multi-user payload sponsored in collaboration with NASA and CASIS. The CASIS-sponsored portion of the payload will explore the molecular basis of muscle atrophy caused by extended microgravity exposure from spaceflight by examining a transgenic mouse model.

    The study will assess changes in mouse hind limb muscles including muscle mass, muscle fiber size and type (fast vs. slow), and protein/gene expression in flight mice compared with both control mice on the ground and wild-type mice. The broader goal is to make use of the International Space Station as a laboratory for the discovery of novel molecular targets for musculoskeletal diseases.



*This manifest does not include payloads from NanoRacks, or other outside entities whose projects jointly fly under the ISS National Laboratory. Additionally, this list does not include funded educational payloads from the Student Spaceflight Experiments Program, for which CASIS is a national sponsor. This list of payloads only includes those that have been brokered and sponsored by CASIS.
SPACE-X 5, DRAGON

LAUNCH: No earlier than January 6, 2015


RESEARCH PAYLOADS ONBOARD:

  • FLATWORM REGENERATION
    Kentucky Space
    Principle Investigator: Dr. Mahendra Jain


    Dr. Mahendra Jain, principal investigator for Kentucky Space, has proposed an experiment to study regeneration in planarians, which are flatworms capable of rebuilding body organs and nervous systems after damage.

    In partnership with Dr. Michael Levin of Tufts University, Dr. Jain will examine the effects of the space environment on these enhanced healing abilities. Gravity, and the lack thereof, influences the way cells behave and their ability to rebuild tissue.

    Studying planarians in space may reveal new aspects of how cells rebuild tissue, which could lead to breakthroughs in medical treatments for humans. For example, regenerative medicine has the potential to treat conditions like Parkinson’s, heart disease, or lost limbs.



  • T-CELL ACTIVATION IN AGING
    San Francisco VA Medical Center, NCIRE
    Principle Investigator: Dr. Millie Hughes-Fulford


    Recently it has been discovered that there is altered miRNA expression in spaceflight and Dr. Hughes-Fulford and team hypothesize that altered miRNAs expression may provide new pharmaceutical targets for treatment of immune disease. Their goal is to elucidate the molecular basis of suppression of T-cell activation in microgravity, including identification of regulatory miRNA expression (with gene targets) which cause immunosuppression in astronauts and the elderly.

    This is a project funded by both the National Institutes of Health and the Center for the Advancement of Science in Space.


ARK2 PROMOTIONAL VIDEO


CASIS has brokered a wide array of research investigations, from academic to very non-traditional inquiry onboard the ISS U.S. National Laboratory. Join CASIS President and Executive Director, Gregory H. Johnson as he outlines some of the research projects destined for the National Lab during ARK2.


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