The Microalgae Biosynthesis in Microgravity (MicroAlgae) experiments conducted on the International Space Station (ISS) by NASA scientists studied the effects of microgravity on the ability of Haematococcus pluvialis UTEX 2505 to produce astaxanthin, a powerful antioxidant. A community college student, in collaboration with alumnae of the NASA Community College Aerospace Scholars (NCAS) program, proposed this research. NCAS is engaging community colleges across the U.S. to conduct ground studies for comparison with the in-orbit investigation.
This kit includes the "earthbound" UTEX 2505 H. pluvialis strain, the ISS-tested strain, UTEX B 3087 H. pluvialis, and 1 Liter of MES-Volvox Growth Medium.
Expedition 59 crew member, Christina Koch, kneads each of the four culture bags to more evenly distribute the algae and to allow Microalgae Investigators a view of the fluid dynamics inside the bag. Large clumps of algae would indicate an early sign of stress prior to astaxanthin production. Credit: NASA