ESA astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti working with ESA’s Kubik centrifuge on the International Space Station for the Triplelux experiment.
This experiment uses ESA’s Biolab facility in the Columbus laboratory on the Station. Living in space is harmful to living beings – radiation takes its toll on a cellular level, while weightlessness seems to impair immune systems.
Triplelux aims to understand the negative mechanisms at a cellular level by clearly separating the effects of microgravity from other factors in spaceflight. Cells from the immune system called leukocytes absorb bacteria as a first line of defence against infections. In a cellular process called phagocytosis, the leukocytes envelop a foreign body and then zap it with oxygen to finish it off. In this experiment, leukocytes will be observed as they ingest a safer stand-in for bacteria called Zymosan, a harmless molecule that triggers similar immune responses.
Triplelux will look at immune cells from three sources (rats, bacteria and mussels) and expose them to weightlessness, normal gravity on Earth and simulated gravity in space. ESA’s Kubik centrifuge on the Station will spin the samples while in space so they feel the equivalent force of gravity.
Samantha published this image with the text: “Working on Kubik, the standalone centrifuge-incubator.”
Follow Samantha via samanthacristoforetti.esa.int