Worms in Space: Molecular Muscle 2


Worms in Space: Molecular Muscle 2



Project Name: Worms in Space: Molecular Muscle 2

Customer: UK Space Agency - under contract to the University of Nottingham and in collaboration with the University of Exeter

Objective: Determine the molecular causes of muscle abnormalities during spaceflight to establish effective countermeasures.


The PI team have established that there is a reproducible set of gene expression changes in response to spaceflight. The Molecular Muscle Experiments (MME) are designed to test if either of two potential mechanisms of action regulate these gene expression changes and if a drug can ameliorate these changes. The MME-2 experiment is a re-flight of the Biomission 2015 MME experiment hardware (flown to the ISS in December 2018) which was originally based on similar devices for the ICE-FIRST and CERISE missions flown on board the ISS in 2004 and 2009 respectively. MME-2 continues with the same two objectives: 1) identifying molecular causes of spaceflight induced biological changes, and 2) identifying pharmacologic interventions that can ameliorate spaceflight induced biological changes. The MME-2 biological sample is composed of liquid cultures containing C. elegans larvae and liquid bacterial feed to allow population growth. The MME-2 sample will be hosted into Culture Bags (CBs). The CBs will be accommodated into an experiment container named KIC-NLA (No Level Air) and, once on board the ISS, will be placed into KUBIK incubator in the Columbus Module. The duration of the experiment is foreseen to be in the range minimum 5.5 – 6 days. Extra space available within the KUBIK incubator onboard the International Space Station is allocated to international partners to test additional hypothesis driven. Lastly, three UK based schools will directly participate in this mission by identifying and validating hypothesis driven experiments that will work within our operational constraints.

Kayser Space is the industry partner in charge of the provision of the MME-2 hardware. The original hardware design and manufacture was carried out by parent company Kayser Italia. Kayser Space is in charge of bringing the existing hardware back up to flight condition, including acceptance level testing, development of alternative culture bags and mission operations.


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